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Too close? Hunt called Murdoch lobbyist "daddy"

Text messages published to Leveson inquiry show a close relationship between Culture Secretary and F

New Statesman

When Jeremy Hunt's adviser Adam Smith resigned, he said that his actions may have "created the perception that News Corporation had too close a relationship with the department".

Yet after text messages published today by the Leveson inquiry, it will be very difficult for Hunt to continue to claim that he maintained a proper distance from Fred Michel, the News Corporation lobbyist.

In what sounds a lot like flirting, the text messages feature the two calling eachother "daddy", in a possible reference to the fact that the two men became fathers at the same time (their children were born in the same hospital ont he same day).

Political Scrapbook is doing a sterling job of picking out the weirdest exchanges. Here are a few.

FM: You were great on the BBC this week-end!

JH: U too daddy

[...]

FM: Great speech. Watched it with cycling team. And I can’t believe you managed to do Newsnight as well! You have stamina daddy!

JH: We all find it somewhere!

After Clint Eastwood complainted about Hunt abolishing the UK Film Council:

FM: Be strong! Even Clint Eastwood can’t stop it

JH: If they play Dirty Harry so can I!

Hunt's appearance before Leveson on Thursday looks set to be very interesting indeed.