UK culture minister faces probe on disclosure
LONDON – The British Parliament's commissioner for standards has opened an investigation into Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has faced calls for his resignation over his office's dealings with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
John Lyon confirmed on Monday that he is looking into allegations that Hunt failed to register donations from several media companies.
Lyon said the investigation is in response to a complaint from an opposition member of Parliament that Hunt had failed to disclose his participation in a series of networking events staged by eight creative industry organizations. The events took place before he took his current post.
Hunt's fellow Conservative Ed Vaizey attended the same events between July 2009 and March 2010, and reported them as donations in kind worth 27,000 pounds ($42,700).
Hunt's office said he had amended his disclosure form, but Hunt has said he did not attend all of the events.
Hunt's former special adviser, Adam Smith, is scheduled to testify Thursday at the Leveson Inquiry into press standards.
Smith resigned following the disclosure of email communications with News Corp. lobbyist Fred Michel about News Corp.'s proposed takeover of satellite broadcaster BSkyB. Hunt was the minister in charge of deciding whether the takeover could go ahead, and has denied that he was secretly aiding the bid.
News Corp. dropped its bid in July after one of its British newspapers, the Sunday tabloid News of the World, was reported to have hacked the phone of a murdered school girl while police were still searching for her.