UK Politics

Jeremy Hunt faces inquiry over private firm donations

Jeremy Hunt
Image caption Mr Hunt is reported to be planning to amend his entry in the Register of Members Interests

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt could face a probe into claims he failed to declare sponsorship from private firms when he was a shadow culture spokesman.

Labour MP Steve McCabe has asked the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to investigate the allegations.

Mr Hunt and Ed Vaizey, who is now the culture minister, attended at least three events before the 2010 election paid for by creative industry firms.

It is understood Mr Vaizey declared them to the Commons but not Mr Hunt.

Mr Vaizey's entry in the Register of Members Interests states that both men attended eight separate events between July 2009 and March 2010.

Aides to the culture secretary have insisted the figure of eight is wrong.

'Potential conflict'

Mr Hunt is reported to be planning to amend his entry in the register to show that he received sponsorship from the three companies.

According to the Daily Mail, he took a donation worth £1,473.81 from advertising agency DDB UK, another worth £1,435 from the Groucho Club, and a third from M&C Saatchi worth £4,563.50. The total value was £7,472.31.

Mr McCabe, MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, told the newspaper: "No-one would be asking these questions if Ed Vaizey hadn't made that declaration himself. These are areas where there is a potential conflict of interest.

"Since there is clearly confusion in their own minds about who went to which events, this is just the sort of thing where the commissioner should seek to establish the facts."

Mr Hunt is already under pressure after a special adviser, Adam Smith, resigned over what he admitted was an inappropriately close relationship with News Corporation during its planned takeover of broadcaster BSkyB.

Labour wants Prime Minister David Cameron to order an inquiry into whether he broke the ministerial code.

Mr Cameron has accused Labour of "playing one-sided party politics" with the issue and of having "self-serving double standards".

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