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Phone-hacking: Murdoch reveals ties with govt

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was among several people in the Cameron govt left squirming as James Murdoch revealed close proximity with people in power.

London: Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was among several people in the David Cameron government left squirming as James Murdoch`s deposition with the Leveson inquiry on Tuesday revealed close proximity with people in power, particularly on the issue of the failed BSkyB takeover bid.

Murdoch`s revelations on the takeover bid have been described as "astonishing" and "explosive" that may lead to the resignation of Jeremy Hunt.

The revelations include a large number of emails between his executives and ministerial aides.

Murdoch said he had a total of 12 meetings with Cameron before his Conservative Party came to power in the May 2010 general election.

He said News Corp executives, including himself, had held several meetings with ministers during the company`s bid to take full control of BSkyB, of which it owns 39 per cent.

Earlier in the deposition, Murdoch reiterated his earlier stand that he was not aware of the extent of unethical news-gathering practices at the News of the World, and that had he known then, he would have stopped them.

The multi-billion takeover bid was withdrawn amidst widespread revulsion over the phone-hacking scandal that hit British press, politics and the police last summer. But details provided by Murdoch reflected the extent of access and potential influence that he, his family and company wielded in politics.

As Murdoch`s deposition was watched closely across the political spectrum, the opposition Labour party was quick to attack Jeremy Hunt, who was responsible to decide on the takeover bid, and was once described as a "cheerleader" for the Murdochs.

Besides disclosing that he discussed the takeover bid with Cameron and chancellor George Osborne, Murdoch submitted large number of emails between his executives and members of the government.


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