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Tony Blair to appear before Leveson Inquiry

Category: Entertainment

Published: 25th May 2012 11:37:14

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is to appear before the Leveson Inquiry into media standards on Monday.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt will give evidence on Thursday, the inquiry witness list shows.

He will be asked about his office's links with News Corp during its bid to take over satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

Prime Minister David Cameron told ITV's This Morning he did not "regret" asking Mr Hunt to rule on the abortive deal and said he had acted "impartially".

On Thursday, it was revealed that Mr Hunt had sent a memo to the prime minister indicating support for News Corp's bid weeks before taking charge.

Mr Hunt will face questions about whether his public expressions of support for the bid before he was given the role were compatible with his job in overseeing it.

Next Tuesday, Education Secretary Michael Gove and Home Secretary Theresa May will appear at the inquiry. Business Secretary Vince Cable and Justice Secretary Ken Clarke will appear on Wednesday.

'Crucial point'

Mr Hunt was appointed to the role in December 2010 after Mr Cable was stripped of his responsibilities following comments made to reporters.

Mr Cameron said: "I don't regret giving the job to Jeremy Hunt, it was the right thing to do in the circumstances, which were not of my making."

The PM told This Morning: "The crucial point, the really crucial point, is did Jeremy Hunt carry out his role properly with respect to BSkyB and I believe that he did."

The inquiry has seen emails showing that News Corp lobbyist Fred Michel received inside information about the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's handling of the bid from Mr Hunt's former special adviser Adam Smith.

Mr Smith resigned last month after admitting his actions went too far and has begun a second day of questioning at the inquiry.

Permanent Secretary Jonathan Stephens is also expected to be asked whether he gave permission for Mr Smith to be the point of contact with News Corp during the takeover bid process.

The Leveson Inquiry is currently examining the relationship between the press and politicians.

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