CULTURE secretary Jeremy Hunt and former prime minister Tony Blair will be among those appearing before the Leveson Inquiry into press standards next week, it was announced today.
• Jeremy Hunt under mounting pressure over his links with News Corporation
• Former PM Tony Blair to appear on Monday
• Vince Cable - who had ‘declared war’ on Rupert Murdoch - will also face questions
• Culture secretary’s advisor discloses communications with News Corp lobbyist
Mr Hunt will face a grilling over his office’s links with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation during its bid to take over the satellite broadcaster BSkyB, and he will be challenged over whether his public expressions of support for the bid were compatible with the quasi-judicial role he was given by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Also giving evidence in one of the most crucial weeks of the inquiry will be Business Secretary Vince Cable, who was stripped of the role of deciding whether the bid could proceed last December after he was secretly recorded saying he had “declared war” on Mr Murdoch.
Former prime minister Tony Blair will face questions on Monday, when he is likely to be asked about the extent and nature of the government’s links with the Murdoch press during Labour’s 13 years in power.
During today’s evidence, the inquiry heard how a lobbyist for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation “bombarded” Jeremy Hunt’s special adviser with information about the media giant’s bid to take over BSkyB.
Adam Smith said the culture secretary and his department knew he was in contact with Fred Michel, News Corp’s former director of public affairs in Europe.
But Mr Smith, who quit as Mr Hunt’s special adviser last month after admitting he got too close to Mr Michel, said he ignored much of the correspondence sent to him by the lobbyist.