Government special adviser Adam Smith has stepped down in the wake of revelations yesterday which suggested Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt had secretly backed News Corp‘s failed bid to take total control of BSkyB.
Emails released News Corp yesterday to the Leveson Inquiry gave a blow by blow account of behind the scenes negotations surrounding the BSkyB bid (which was aborted in July last year in the wake of the Milly Dowler phone-hacking revelations).
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In the emails News Corp director of public affairs Frederic Michel gave the strong impression that Hunt was secretly backing the News Corp bid.
Today adviser Smith issued the following statement: ‘While it was part of my role to keep News Corporation informed throughout the BSkyB bid process, the content and extent of my contact was done without authorisation from the Secretary of State.
“I do not recognise all of what Fred Michel said, but nonetheless I appreciate that my activities at times went too far and have, taken together, created the perception that News Corporation had too close a relationship with the department, contrary to the clear requirements set out by Jeremy Hunt and the permanent secretary that this needed to be a fair and scrupulous process.
‘Whilst I firmly believe that the process was in fact conducted scrupulously fairly, as a result of my activities it is only right for me to step down as special adviser to Jeremy Hunt.”
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