Cameron: Leveson clears Hunt of any bias
30 November 2012
By Rory Baxter
The Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Commons that the Leveson inquiry had exonerated the former Culture Secretary and now Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt from doing any deals with News International to curry favour.
And the PM demanded that the Labour party apologise for the accusations made against Hunt when MPs were questioning his impartiality over the BSkyB bid and calling for his resignation.
To looks that said 'not us, guv' and some shaking of heads on the Labour benches, the PM said: "Lord Justice Leveson looked at this in detail and rejects the allegation emphatically. He said: 'The evidence has not established anything resembling a deal whereby News International support was traded for the expectation of policy favours.' Those who repeatedly made these accusations, including members of this House, and I have to say the former prime minister, should now acknowledge that they were wrong."
Cameron also reckoned Leveson killed Labour's claim that the PM had given Hunt the job of looking into the BSkyB bid to fix the outcome. Leveson said: "The evidence does not begin to support the conclusion that the choice of Mr Hunt was the product of improper media pressure, still less an attempt to guarantee a particular outcome to the process."
The PM said this was another allegation repeatedly made by Labour and again shown to be wrong.
Then there was the accusation that Hunt had rigged the handling of the BSkyB bid. Indeed, said Leveson, Hunt put in place robust systems to ensure the remaining stages of the bid would be handled with fairness, impartiality and transparency. And Leveson went further, Cameron said, concluding that Hunt's "extensive reliance on external advice was a wise and effective means of helping him keep to the statutory test". Leveson added: "There is no credible evidence of actual bias."
Cameron told Labour: "My right honourable friend has endured a string of allegations with great dignity and this report confirms what we on this side of the House knew all along – we were right to stand by him."