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Former BBC chief slams UK Culture Secretary over ties to Murdoch empire

London, Sun, 29 Apr 2012 ANI

London, Apr 29 (ANI): A former chairman of the BBC Trust, Sir Michael Lyons, has slammed UK Cultural Secretary Jeremy Hunt over his relationship with the Murdoch empire.

The New Corporation recently told the Leveson Inquiry that Hunt worked covertly with them to help win approval for takeover of the BSkyB network.

Lyons, who as head of the BBC Trust worked with Hunt until last year, revealed he had long harboured concerns that the cabinet minister was 'far too close' to News Corporation.

According to The Guardian, he poured scorn on Hunt's claim that his special adviser, Adam Smith, who resigned last week, had acted in any way without the knowledge of the minister during the proposed BSkyB takeover by News Corp.

Lyons said he did not doubt that there were texts and email messages that connected the culture secretary to his special adviser's alleged collusion with News Corp, at a time when Hunt was supposed to be acting as an impartial judge on the deal.

"I have to honestly say that I was surprised [by the revelations] given how much he [Hunt] laboured the quasi-judicial nature of his job, but I wasn't surprised in as much as Jeremy had a very individual way of acting as a minister," the paper quoted Lyons, as saying.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted that there would not be a separate investigation into whether emails and messages between Hunt's office and News Corp provided evidence that the ministerial code had been broken until the minister had given evidence in front of Lord Justice Leveson in about three weeks. (ANI)

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