Labour set to force vote on Hunt-case inquiry

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Pressure continued to mount on Jeremy Hunt after Labour revealed it would force a Commons vote calling for the beleaguered Culture Secretary to face an independent investigation into claims he breached the ministerial code.

The Cabinet Minister held on to his job after Downing Street said his evidence to the Leveson Inquiry showed he “acted properly” in his handling of the News Corporation bid for BSkyB.

Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman announced that Labour would use its Opposition day debate on Wednesday June 13 to demand that an inquiry into Mr Hunt’s actions is launched by Sir Alex Allan, the Prime Minister’s adviser on the ministerial code.

Senior Conservative Bernard Jenkin also waded into the row by renewing his calls for Sir Alex to be given the power to stage inquiries without the Prime Minister’s permission.

The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) was preparing to “consider the matter again” after recess, he warned.

Labour believes Mr Hunt misled Parliament twice about his role in the bid for BSkyB and must also take responsibility for the actions of his special adviser Adam Smith who was forced to quit when damaging emails were released showing close contact with News Corporation lobbyist Fred Michel.

Ms Harman said: “Jeremy Hunt has broken the ministerial code and misled parliament. It is not acceptable that these rules have been broken and we will call a vote insisting that Jeremy Hunt’s breaches of the code are referred to the independent adviser on ministerial interests.

“The ministerial code sets the standards which secretaries of state must live up to. When David Cameron came into power, he upgraded the code and he said he was going to have higher standards in public office. Today those words ring hollow, he has just torn up the code.”

Conservative Party deputy chairman Michael Fallon insisted nothing new had emerged during Mr Hunt’s evidence to the inquiry.