Leveson Inquiry: Jeremy Hunt 'sought News Corp guidance'
Published: 11th May 2012 15:54:48
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt sought "private advice" from News Corporation over phone-hacking, an email given to the Leveson Inquiry has suggested.
The previously unseen email, by News Corp PR man Frederic Michel, says Mr Hunt wanted "guidance" on his and Number 10's "positioning".
Mr Hunt is facing questions about contact between his political advisor and Mr Michel.
Meanwhile, the inquiry is also hearing evidence from Rebekah Brooks.
The last line of Mr Michel's email read: "JH is now starting to looking to phone hacking/practices more thoroughly and has asked me to advise him privately in the coming weeks and guide his and No 10's positioning…"
BBC political editor Nick Robinson says that it is already known that Mr Michel often referred to "JH", meaning Jeremy Hunt, even when he had only spoken to Mr Hunt's special adviser Adam Smith.
Mr Smith has since resigned, saying that he had acted without Mr Hunt's authority, after it emerged he and Mr Michel had been in contact over News Corp's bid to take control of BSkyB.
Mr Hunt was the cabinet minister tasked with deciding if such a takeover could go ahead.
The Leveson Inquiry has spent Friday questioning Rebekah Brooks, who quit as chief executive of News International in July 2011 after the phone-hacking scandal led to the News of the World newspaper's closure.
Mrs Brooks was asked about the amount of contact she had with senior UK politicians, including whether Prime Minister David Cameron had sent her a "keep your head up" message when she resigned she said it had been "something along those lines".
Mrs Brooks - who was News of the World editor when voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's mobile phone were allegedly intercepted - said she received "indirect" rather than direct text messages from a number of politicians at that time.
They included messages from "Number 10, Number 11, the Home Office and the Foreign Office" and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World Sunday tabloid led to its closure and the establishment of the Leveson Inquiry, an MPs' inquiry and the launch of three police investigations.
Mrs Brooks has denied any knowledge of phone-hacking on her watch.
She was arrested on 17 July 2011 over phone-hacking and corruption allegations.
She was released on bail and re-arrested on 13 March 2012, on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and bailed again to appear at a London police station in May 2012.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Leveson Inquiry: Jeremy Hunt 'sought News Corp guidance'. [Online] (Updated 11 May 2012)
Available at: http://www.manchesterwired.co.uk/news.php/1428004-Leveson-Inquiry-Jeremy-Hunt-sought-News-Corp-guidance [Accessed 19th June 2013]
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