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Hunt's troubles return

New email claims Hunt asked News Corp lobbyist to guide his "positioning".

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt allegedly asked News Corp lobbyist Frédéric Michel to guide "his positioning". Photograph: Getty Images.

It looks as if Rebekah Brooks's Leveson testimony could prove more far damaging to Jeremy Hunt than to David Cameron. A newly disclosed email (see below) from News Corp lobbyist  Frédéric Michel to Brooks alleges that Hunt asked Michel to "advise him privately (on the BSkyB bid) in the coming weeks and guide his and No 10's positioning…"

If true, it is the strongest evidence yet that Hunt sought to aid News Corp's bid for full control of BSkyB in violation of his duty to act in a "quasi-judicial" role. No. 10 will likely reply that we are still only hearing one side of the story (the email is not from Hunt) and that we should wait until Hunt's appearance at the end of the month to establish the full facts. But the Culture Secretary's future is looking even less certain after today.

Fred Michel to Rebekah Brooks:
27 June 2011 16:29

Hunt will be making references to phone hacking in his statement on Rubicon this week.

He will be repeating the same narrative as the one he gave in Parliament few weeks ago.

This is based on his belief that the police is pursing things thoroughly and phone hacking has nothing to do with the media plurality issues.

It's extremely helpful.

On the issue of the privacy committee he supports a widening of its remit to the future of the press and evidence from all newspaper groups on the regulatory regime.

He wants to prevent a public inquiry. For this the committee will need to come up a strong report in the autumn and put enough pressure on the PCC to strength itself and take recommendations forward.

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…

Fred

Brooks to Michel:
Jun 27 2011 17:30

When is the Rubicon statement?

Michel to Brooks:

Probably Weds