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Hunt to hand over private emails
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he believed his contacts with Adam Smith would show he handled the BSkyB takeover bid with 'integrity'
Beleaguered Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has pledged to hand over all his private texts and emails to his special adviser, to the Leveson Inquiry.
Mr Hunt said he believed that his contacts with Adam Smith would show that he handled the BSkyB takeover bid by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire with "total integrity".
"I will be handing over all my private texts and emails to my special adviser to the Leveson Inquiry and I am confident that they will vindicate the position that I handled the BSkyB merger process with total integrity," he told reporters outside his London home.
Mr Smith was forced to resign on Wednesday after details of his contacts with a News Corp executive were released by the Leveson Inquiry, prompting accusations of a secret "back channel" between Mr Hunt's office and News Corp.
Mr Hunt's commitment to pass material to the Leveson Inquiry is unlikely to ease pressure on David Cameron to order his own investigation into whether he breached the ministerial code of conduct.
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes became the first senior figure in his party to call for the matter to be referred to the Prime Minister's independent adviser on ministerial interests, Sir Alex Allan.
"What I cannot understand is why the matter of the ministerial code of conduct, which is to do with do you take responsibility for your special adviser, is not something the Prime Minister should immediately refer to the person who has been given the job of doing that, Sir Alex Allan," he told BBC1's Question Time.
Mr Hunt insisted that he acted with "scrupulous fairness" in his handling of the BSkyB bid and was not in any way influenced by Mr Smith's contacts with News Corp executive Frederic Michel. Labour, however, say that under the code of conduct, he must take responsibility for his special adviser's actions.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said Mr Cameron's refusal to order an inquiry suggested he was trying to protect his own position. He said: "Every day David Cameron looks more like a Prime Minister organising a cover-up rather than standing up for the public...
"People watching this Prime Minister's actions will conclude he has a great deal to hide and that his real fear is that Jeremy Hunt's resignation will put his own actions and behaviour centre-stage."