Jeremy Hunt accused of throwing special adviser to the wolves.
Labour say Hunt’s aide Adam Smith has been sacrificed to deflect attention from his own close relationship with News Corp.
He was, said Jeremy Hunt, a man of “integrity and decency” and his departure was a matter of “huge” personal regret. The Conservative culture secretary nonetheless swiftly accepted the resignation of his special adviser Adam Smith on Wednesday, prompting the Labour benches to accuse him of using his aide as a “human shield” who was “thrown to the wolves” to deflect attention away from his own close relationship with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
Smith announced his decision to quit after conceding on Wednesday morning that his “activities at times went too far”.
The young policy adviser, described by one of his contacts in the sporting world as “Jeremy Hunt’s mini-me”, fell on his sword after correspondence between himself and the News Corporation lobbyist Frédéric Michel was aired at the Leveson inquiry.
His departure appeared to undermine the government’s defence of Hunt. This centres on the charge that Michel had exaggerated, even outright distorted, accounts of his contact with Hunt and his team.
The Labour MP Dennis Skinner asked Hunt: “Now your adviser has lost his job, doesn’t it prove the theory that when posh boys are in trouble, they sack the servants?”