Observations On Labour has renewed calls for Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to resign after suggestions he sought “private advice” from News Corp over phone hacking. To Do It Justices I Have Included The Article Below:
Labour has renewed calls for Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to resign after suggestions he sought “private advice” from News Corp over phone hacking. Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman said this was “absolutely not acceptable” and Mr Hunt was “not fit” to remain in his position.
An email at the Leveson Inquiry, sent to ex-News International chief Rebekah Brooks, said Mr Hunt wanted “guidance”.
Mr Hunt is resisting calls to quit, claiming the email was “inaccurate”.
The email, from News Corporation public affairs executive Fred Michel to Mrs Brooks, dated 27 June 2011, predicted correctly that Mr Hunt would play down the influence of the phone-hacking scandal on the company’s bid for full control of BSkyB.
The message stated that Mr Hunt wanted to “prevent a public inquiry”.
“How much more evidence does David Cameron need that this man is not fit to hold this high office?”
She added: “Clearly there was complete collusion between the secretary of state and his office and News Corp on a bid where he was supposed to be impartial, which is why he should not be in his job.
“Either he didn’t know what was going on on an £8bn bid, in which case he shouldn’t be in his job and he should be sacked, or he did know and he is covering up and blaming everybody else, in which case he should be sacked.”
Denis MacShane, the Labour MP for Rotherham, said Mr Hunt’s time as a minister was coming to an end.
He said: “It’s over for Jeremy Hunt. What we found out is what everyone half knew in the House of Commons, that he was openly colluding with the Murdoch empire on the question of BSkyB.
“Now his position is untenable and when Parliament gets going next week, I think that’s going to be the case.”
But a spokeswoman for the culture secretary said: “Jeremy Hunt will respond to this when he gives evidence to the Leveson Inquiry in due course.
“He is confident his evidence will vindicate the position that he has behaved with integrity on every issue.
“It has already been made clear that when Fred Michel has claimed in emails to be speaking to Jeremy Hunt that was not the case.
“On July 11 2011 Jeremy Hunt wrote to Ofcom for further advice about the impact of phone hacking on the BSkyB bid.”
Mr Hunt’s officials point out that Mr Michel has already admitted that the only contact he had was with the culture secretary’s adviser, Adam Smith, who resigned last month.
The email to Mrs Brooks emerged while she was giving evidence on Friday to Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into media ethics.
In cross examination at the Leveson Inquiry on Friday, Mrs Brooks said she was aware of the role Fred Michel played in the bid.
She added: “At the time of the BskyB bid, I suppose like most journalists, I viewed public affairs and lobbyists with slight scepticism and I often thought that Mr Michel perhaps over-egged his position. However, he was doing his job. He was passing on information, as lobbyists do.”
Mr Hunt was the cabinet minister tasked with deciding if the BSkyB takeover could go ahead.
Mr Hunt himself has said he “strictly followed due process” in the matter, and denied that News Corp had any “back channel” of influence with his office.
Downing Street has said there were “no plans” to investigate whether Mr Hunt had broken the ministerial code, with Mr Cameron saying the culture secretary had acted properly and that it was a matter for the Leveson Inquiry.
Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah have said claims they gave permission for the Sun to publish a story about their son’s medical condition were “untrue”.
The newspaper ran a story in 2006 about Mr Brown’s son Fraser being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
Mrs Brooks told the Leveson Inquiry she had the express permission of the Browns to run it.
But the Browns said that “at no stage” was their permission sought.
The phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World led to its closure and the establishment of the Leveson Inquiry, an MPs’ inquiry and the launch of three police investigations.
The inquiry is currently looking at the relationship between the media and politicians, and will hear evidence on Monday from former Number 10 press secretary Alistair Campbell.
Well here comes the boys and gals of the movers and shakers all wanted to pander to the almighty Rupert Murdock. Now it transpire all the past and present Prime Minsters are in panic mode. There is no denying that both Cameron, Blair and Brown and possible the front benches may or may not have visited the media giant to advantage to win the next general elections.
To Be frank and honest my heart goes out to both Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah when it comes to children with a disability or as a matter of fact any parents who have children with disabilities as it is NOT the child fault that they were born with it and I will challenge anybody to say differently.
I first met both Gordon and Sarah Brown on my way to celebrate Chinese New Year in North London at a well known Chinese Restaurant where I found them to very pleasant and a year later I met them again at a another mutual place this time at 10 Downing Street to celebrate Chinese New Year again.
Of all the two Prime Ministers I have personally met both Blair and Brown I have respect for both of them in different ways. I found Gordon Brown more down to earth for this he has a lot of my respect. As for Tony Blair I have a certain respect for him to. Lets not forget that Tony Blair gave Labour a third victory a first for Labour which will not be forgotten.
Most people who knows of me will tell you I am NO fan of Tony Blair as leader of Labour and Prime Minister. Blair did bring in a lot of changes to UK some I would beg to differ and some I will continue to fight passionately for like NHS, Pensions, Police and the list goes on
Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah have challenged Rebekah Brooks’s claims at the Leveson inquiry that the former prime minister was content to see details of his son’s cystic fibrosis published in the Sun.
In a strongly worded statement issued following Brooks’s appearance, where her claims were challenged by barrister Robert Jay QC, the couple also said they remained concerned about the absence of “a satisfactory explanation” about how private medical information relating to the child got into the hands of the Sun, “and the possible payments involved”.
Former advisers have already made clear that Brown was deeply upset in November 2006 when his staff was informed by political journalists that the Sun had got hold of the story that his four-month-old son Fraser had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
The Sun team wanted to know how Brown, who was chancellor at the time, and his staff wanted to handle the matter and whether it wished to issue a statement to the paper.
Following consultations, Brown told his communications staff to tell the Sun that he planned to make a statement to the Press Association and that he did not want it to be seen that he was giving an exclusive about a story of this nature to the newspaper.
Following this, there were further personal private phone calls between Brooks and Sarah Brown, as well as Gordon Brown himself.
It is alleged that in this series of discussions, Brooks objected to the idea of the Browns giving their exclusive to the press in general, and said that once he was prime minister, he would not be able to handle these kind of personal issues in this way.
Hours after Brooks had appeared at the inquiry, the Browns said they had always tried to keep their children away from the limelight, adding: “The idea that we would have volunteered our permission or were happy that a story about our son’s health was about to enter the public domain is untrue.
“We were presented via the Treasury press office with the notification that the Sun had obtained information about our newborn son’s health a few months after his birth in 2006 and was preparing to run a story.
“At no stage did anyone from the Sun ask permission to publish this story. Given that we were presented with a fait accompli, our whole objective was to minimise the damage. We handled it as best we could at the time.
“Sarah Brown did speak at length to Mrs Brooks to ensure that reporting was not unduly negative about the prospect for her son’s health, mindful of her own family and of other CF families around Britain. She then quickly contacted her wider family and friends as they had not yet been notified. Every subsequent action that followed was an attempt to reduce any future coverage about our children.
“We remain concerned that there is no satisfactory explanation of how private medical information, known to very few people, got into the hands of the Sun and the possible payments involved.”
Asked by Jay at the inquiry if she had the express permission of the Browns to publish the story about their son, Brooks replied: “Absolutely”, adding later that she would not have published the story if the Browns had asked her not to run it.
“There are many examples [of] very tragic situations in people’s lives where people have asked me not to run the story and I haven’t, and I wouldn’t have done – they gave me permission to run it. It is the only way we would have put that in the public domain,” said Brooks.
Then there is pressure mounted for Chancellor George Osborne to attend the Leveson inquiry after it emerged today he had discussed the BskyB takeover bid with Rebekah Brooks at a dinner in 2010.
Former News International boss Ms Brooks admitted to the inquiry that she discussed the takover bid with Mr Osborne and although she couldn’t remember who started the conversation, she accepted it might have been her.
Council for the inquiry Robert Jay QC asked whether this was appropriate.
“For one three-minute conversation at the beginning of dinner I got the opportunity to give our view. I don’t think that is inappropriate,” Ms Brooks said.
She also said she had discussed the deal “in passing” with David Cameron.
“The BSkyB bid was mentioned at the dinner at our home in December, but I don’t remember having a particularly forceful discussion with Mr Cameron on it,” she said.
“Mr Cameron always made it very clear that he turned it into, or it was a quasi-judicial decision and it wasn’t up to him … He was always very even-handed of it.”
The former News International chief also revealed that Mr Cameron had expressed regret that he could not be more loyal publicly following her resignation over the phone-hacking scandal.
The issue of contacts between Ms Brooks and the Chancellor was raised by the release of emails from News Corp lobbyist Frederic Michel by the Leveson Inquiry last month.
One email showed that she had reported Mr Osborne’s reaction to an Ofcom announcement on the BSkyB bid: “Same from GO – total bafflement at response.”
Mr Osborne has submitted a written statement to the inquiry but was not expected to attend.
Ms Brooks also gave details of dozens of lunches and dinners with successive prime ministers.
She claimed to have met or dined with Tony Blair at least 30 times between 1998 and 2007, and a number of times with Gordon Brown.
She said she and Mr Cameron met at least once for lunch and four times for dinner following the 2010 general election, including at a Christmas dinner party at the Brooks’s Oxfordshire home on December 23 that year.
Labour MPs gave Prime Minister David Cameron a battering on Wednesday as a rising tide of Murdoch sleaze engulfed his government.
Cries of “resign” greeted Mr Cameron and his damaged Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt as they wriggled in the Commons.
However it was a hapless political adviser to Mr Hunt who became the first casualty on Wednesday following damning evidence of collusion with Murdoch’s News Corporation over the BSkyB takeover bid.
The Culture Secretary’s special adviser Adam Smith resigned after the Murdoch empire released to the Leveson inquiry a damaging dossier of e-mails and texts between the ministry and News Corporation.
Mr Cameron tried to brazen his way through the mire, despite James Murdoch’s statement at the inquiry that he had a brief discussion with the PM about the BSkyB bid – contradicting Cameron’s repeated denials.
The PM even proclaimed that the Culture Secretary “has my full support.”
Labour MP Dennis Skinner caused uproar by calling for the resignation of both Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne.
Referring to the resignation of Mr Smith, the Bolsover MP said it showed that “when posh boys are in trouble they sack the servants.”
The Culture Secretary faced barracking as he told MPs that Mr Smith’s resignation “is something of huge regret to me.” Mr Smith was a person of great integrity and decency, he insisted.
Mr Hunt repeatedly dodged Labour MPs’ demands to state whether he personally decided to appoint Mr Smith as the point of contact with News Corporation.
The shameless minister declared: “The idea that I was backing this bid is laughable.”
Labour MP and anti-Murdoch campaigner Tom Watson asked incredulously if Mr Hunt was “seriously trying to convince the nation that these incriminating e-mails and texts are all the work of a single rogue adviser.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband demanded that Mr Hunt must resign. “It beggars belief that the Prime Minister could defend the culture secretary,” he said.
Mr Miliband said “the shadow of sleaze will hang over this government” while Mr Cameron refused to come clean about meetings between himself, Chancellor Osborne and Mr Murdoch.