15 May 2012

Adam Smith, Fred Michel to appear at Leveson

Adam Smith, the special adviser at the heart of the Jeremy Hunt/BSkyB affair, is to give evidence in public to Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry, as will Fred Michel, the News International lobbyist who liaised with him.

It will be a critical moment for the government and for Jeremy Hunt. Lord Justice Leveson made the announcement in a special address to his inquiry as its afternoon session started.

Lord Justice Leveson also replied to the points of order raised in the Commons on Monday when Labour asked for Jeremy Hunt to release relevant information to the Commons before his appearance at the Leveson inquiry.

Lord Justice Leveson said that if parliament threw his timetable by throwing around paperwork he wanted released in an orderly manner at his own discretion, he would feel that he should dump that section of his inquiry and not look into the Smith/Michel correspondence beyond what was already going to be put to Jeremy Hunt when he came to give evidence.

If you were Jeremy Hunt you might be tempted, on that basis, to throw every available document at Labour MPs, and stop what could end up being a very challenging day of questioning for Fred Michel and Adam Smith.

Update 15.42: I hear Labour has very sensibly (from its own point of view) pulled back from demands for JH to give any evidence he plans to give to Leveson later to Commons now … Presumably it doesn’t want to pull the Michel/Adam Smith appearance off the prospects list.

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