Jeremy Hunt faces questions over undeclared donations - Press Gazette

Jeremy Hunt faces questions over undeclared donations

Jeremy Hunt is facing a sleaze probe after failing to declare thousands of pounds in donations, it has been revealed.

The Culture Secretary attended three “networking” events before the 2010 general election that were funded by companies including advertising giant M&C Saatchi.

However, the details were not lodged with the Commons register of interests.

Hunt’s deputy Ed Vaizey stated in his register entry that they were both at eight separate events sponsored by private companies between July 2009 and March 2010.

The functions were to “enable the Conservative frontbench team (Ed Vaizey and Jeremy Hunt) to meet sector leaders from the arts and creative industries”.

They included one hosted by BSkyB on 7 October 2009, which cost £3,800. At the time Hunt and Vaizey were shadowing the culture brief.

Aides to the Culture Secretary insisted Vaizey had made a mistake in suggesting that both men had attended all eight events.

But Hunt is planning to amend his register entry to show that he took a donation worth £1,473.81 from advertising agency DDB UK in 2009, another worth £1,435 from the Groucho Club, and a third from M&C Saatchi worth £4,563.50. The total value was £7472.31.

Labour MP Steve McCabe said parliamentary standards commissioner John Lyon should launch an investigation.

“No one would be asking these questions if Ed Vaizey hadn’t made that declaration himself. These are areas where there is a potential conflict of interest,” he told the Daily Mail.

“Since there is clearly confusion in their own minds about who went to which events, this is just the sort of thing where the Commissioner should seek to establish the facts.”

The under-fire Culture Secretary agreed to hand the Leveson Inquiry all private texts and emails sent to special adviser Adam Smith last week amid the ongoing controversy surrounding News Corp‘s scuppered bid to takeover BSkyB.

Last Wednesday his special adviser Adam Smith quit after admitting his activities during the News Corp’s bid for BSkyB bid ‘went too far”, after emails released by News Corp on Tuesday appeared to show ‘back-channel’communications between Hunt’s office and News Corp throughout its attempts to buy the remaining shares in BSkyB that it did not already own.

Hunt has rejected repeated calls for his resignation from Labour and insisted he behaved with “scrupulous fairness” throughout the failed News Corp bid.

Hunt is potentially facing three investigations from the Leveson Inquiry, the Financial Services Authority and claims he broke the Ministerial Code of Conduct



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