James Murdoch‘s evidence to the UK media ethics inquiry has already claimed one victim. Adam Smith, the adviser to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, resigned today amid calls for Hunt’s own resignation. Adding fuel to the fire, Brtain’s Financial Services Authority could be interested in investigating emails revealed yesterday that surround News Corp‘s aborted bid to acquire the part of BSkyB it does not already own.
Hunt’s name came up most often in Murdoch’s testimony yesterday as evidence of email exchanges between Hunt’s adviser Smith and Murdoch’s public affairs chief Fred Michel during the BSkyB bid process were read aloud. The communications could fall into “market abuse” territory, The Financial Times reports.
According to evidence at the inquiry, Smith was the go-between for Michel and Hunt. Smith resigned saying he acted without Hunt’s authority and that he had allowed the impression to be created of too close a relationship between News Corp and the Department of Culture Media and Sport.
Hunt himself has resisted calls to resign and said he followed due process throughout the BSkyB bid. The video below shows part of Hunt’s address to Parliament today as well as Harriet Harman, the Shadow Culture Secretary, who calls for him to resign, saying, “He wasn’t judging this bid, he was backing this bid.” In the background, Hunt is seated on the bench next to Prime Minister David Cameron, who shakes his head when Harman makes her statements. The video is worth it anyway just for the hooting and laughter coming from the backbenchers.