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Jeremy Hunt, culture minister, testifies before the Leveson Inquiry


Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport attends the London 2012 Festival Programme Launch at Tower of London on April 26, 2012 in London, England. Hunt testified before the Leveson Inquiry on Thursday, May 30.


Scott Heavey

Jeremy Hunt, Britain's culture minister, testified before the Leveson Inquiry on Thursday, where he admitted that he was "sympathetic" towards Murdoch's failed takeover of British satellite broadcaster BSkyB, the Associated Press reported

The Inquiry has unearthed evidence that Hunt and other British Cabinet ministers worked behind the scenes to support News Corp's bid for BSkyB and other interests of the media corporation, Reuters reported

Text messages and emails shown to investigators Thursday paint Hunt and finance minister George Osborne, close allies of Prime Minister David Cameron, as highly supportive of News Corp's $12 billion bid for the majority stake in BSkyB, which it already partially owned, according to Reuters. 

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"Congrats on Brussels, just Ofcom to go!" Hunt texted to Murdoch, referring to the approval of the takeover by EU regulators in Brussels and to British regulator, Ofcom, who had yet to make a decision, Al Jazeera English reported

Hunt, according to the Guardian, was attempting to show the Inquiry that he handled his quasi-judicial role in the BSkyB bid fairly, and that he was able to set aside his personal relationships in judging the offer. He also tried to demonstrate "a personal loyalty" to his special adviser, Adam Smith, who acted as a liaison between Hunt and News Corporation, the Guardian reported. 

"Morning sessions on the opening day of a cricket match can sometimes be misleading, but judging by the first three hours, Hunt was struggling to achieve these goals," The Guardian's political editor Patrick Wintour wrote of Hunt's testimony so far. 

Critics of Hunt argue that the culture minister and his office leaked crucial information to the Murdochs' representatives and blatantly supported News Corp, according to the AP. 

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Cameron said last month that he did not promise to back Murdoch's business interests in return for favorable coverage, the AP reported. 

"It would be absolutely wrong for there to be any sort of deal and there wasn't," Cameron told BBC television.

Cameron has decided against investigating whether or not Jeremy Hunt broke the ministerial code, according to BBC. Cameron "believes his minister acted properly when he was responsible for Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB takeover bid," BBC reported. 

Deputy Labor leader Harriet Harman called the decision not to refer Hunt's case "disgraceful" and "deplorable," according to the BBC.