Did Jeremy Hunt Have Secret Ambitions to be Prime Minister?
As Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt gives evidence to the Leveson inquiry into press standards the question must be, why was he so desperate to do a huge favour for Rupert Murdock?
As Jeremy Hunt answers questions at the Leveson inquiry he knows that even his famous dancing skills probably won’t help him wriggle out of a trap - set by himself.
Hunt pushed for the job of deciding on Murdock’s bid to take over the whole of BSkyB when it became obvious the decision was going to be taken away from Vince Cable. He wrote a memo to the Prime Minister saying how sad it was that the Coalition Government was going to mess this one up and how important it was for Murdock to be given the go ahead.
Well surprise, surprise. Hunt was given the job of replacing Cable. His role would be to help decide fairly, and totally without bias, what the verdict should be. Difficult when you’ve already said what you think should happen. That’s a Yes, a Yes, and Yes, another Yes to Murdock.
Of course, this being politics there is a phrase to get you round that difficulty. The job is described as quasi judicial, which means acting in a judicial way – but not really! There, perfect. Wouldn’t you know there would be a way out, and why do coalition politicians wonder why nobody trusts them?
So here you are Jeremy, determined to give Murdock the nod. Your civil servants warn you not to contact the Murdock family – because that would not be quasi judicial. You ignore them and try to get so close to James Murdock – he’ll think you are working for him. Hang on a minute, that’s just what you are doing.
You ignore all the stories, many of them true, about the way the Murdock organisation hacks phones, lies to Parliament, bribes, and corrupts the Police. Not important. What Rupert wants, Rupert must get.
Why are you behaving in this incredibly stupid way?
There can only be one serious explanation. You are ambitious to be Prime Minister one day and having Murdock in your corner will make all the difference. Every politician knows that. It’s Murdock’s unbeatable ace and he’s been playing it for around 30 years.
But Murdock is history now. Toast, departed, Mr Yesterday. Poor old Jeremy will be following him soon. Probably on his bike.