MPs vote against Hunt inquiry

Conservative MPs have defeated the Labour motion that the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt should be referred to the Independent Adviser on the Ministerial Code by 38 votes. The Liberal Democrat leadership had asked its MPs to abstain from the vote.

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Cameron: 'Significant differences' between Hunt and Warsi cases

David Cameron responds to a question from Ed Miliband at PMQs today.

In a heated Prime Minister's Questions, Ed Miliband asked why David Cameron had called in Sir Alex to investigate Tory chairman Baroness Warsi but not Jeremy Hunt.

The Prime Minister said: "There is a very significant difference between the two cases.

"In the case of Baroness Warsi there hasn't been a judge-led inquiry with witnesses, taking evidence under oath, to get to all of the factual evidence behind her case.

"That is why I asked Sir Alex Allan to look at that case and establish some of the facts of that case."

But Mr Miliband said it was not the job of the Leveson Inquiry to investigate alleged breaches of the ministerial code.

Downing Street: Hunt's evidence showed he acted in 'a proper way'

Asked for Mr Cameron's response to the Lib Dem decision to abstain, a Downing Street spokeswoman said:

The Prime Minister is quite clear about Jeremy Hunt. The evidence provided by Jeremy Hunt showed he had acted in a proper way. He took independent advice at every turn.

As the permanent secretary at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport made very clear, Jeremy Hunt set up a process which left him a 'vanishingly small' chance to manipulate the bid for political or other ends.

The Prime Minister has taken the view that he will not be referring Jeremy Hunt because he has acted properly.

It is up to the Prime Minister to appoint people to the Cabinet and it is his decision to make judgments about whether the ministerial code has been broken or otherwise. In his view, Jeremy Hunt acted properly and appropriately.

Asked whether the PM would attend today's debate, the spokeswoman responded: "He has got engagements in his diary. I don't know whether he will be voting."

Tory Minister: Lib Dems' Hunt stance a 'reminder' of coalition differences

Conservative Housing Minister Grant Shapps said the Liberal Democrats decision to abstain in today's vote on Jeremy Hunt was a "reminder that we have different perspectives on things".

Housing Minister Grant Shapps. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Archive

"It's a reminder that this is two parties that have come together in the national interest to sort out these huge debt problems," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

He added that the coalition was dealing with the "really big things", saying: "The important thing is that we continue to focus on the big picture, on avoiding getting into the situation of Spain or Greece."

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Lib Dem MP: Labour vote on Hunt a 'stunt'

Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster said Labour's decision to force a vote on whether to refer Jeremy Hunt to the independent adviser on ministerial interests over his role in News Corp's BSkyB takeover bid is a "stunt".

It's not going to make a blind bit of difference, the Prime Minister's already made his mind up on the issue.

The best way Nick Clegg can make clear what he believes about this is to do what he has already done.

He doesn't endorse the position the Prime Minister's made not to refer this to the independent adviser, it's as simple as that.

– Don Foster, Lib Dem MP speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme

Jeremy Hunt's turbulent few weeks

  • Apr 24: Emails submitted to Leveson by Rupert Murdoch shows regular contact between News Corp lobbyist Fred Michel and Jeremy Hunt's office.
  • Apr 25: Hunt's special adviser Adam Smith quits over allegations his department was too close to News Corp. Smith says he acted without Hunt's authority.
  • May 25: A memo drafted by Hunt to David Cameron from November 2010, in which he expresses his support for the BSkyB bid, is released by the Leveson Inquiry. Hunt said failure to back the bid could put the Government in the "wrong place politically". Cameron defends Hunt's handling of the BSkyB bid.
  • May 31: Jeremy Hunt appears at the Leveson Inquiry and faces questions on his handling of the BSkyB bid.
  • June 13: A debate on whether to refer the Culture Secretary to the independent adviser on ministerial issues over his behaviour on the BSkyB takeover will take place.
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