Quite a day for the government

Some will claim it's an attempt to bury bad news. Others will say that Downing Street is, rather, shovelling all its bad news out at once in the hope that the Jubilee Weekend will soon give voters something else to think about.

Either way it's been quite a day for the government - quite a day too for George Osborne.

It was the chancellor, we learnt today, who told the Culture Secretary that he, Jeremy Hunt, was "the solution" to the mess the government had got itself into when handling the News Corp's £8 billion bid for BSkyB.

That solution involved sidelining Vince Cable - who'd been exposed as being biased against the Murdochs - and replacing him with Mr Hunt who, we now know, was up to that point at least, as biased in their favour. Jeremy Hunt had just sent a text message to James Murdoch congratulating him on the progress of his bid.

Whilst this and other details made for many uncomfortable moments for Mr Hunt he looked much more at ease when defending the way he handled the BSkyB bid - insisting his decision had angered rather than pleased the Murdochs - and that he had acted in an impartial way when given the job.

Nothing emerged to shake the prime minister's determination to stand by his culture secretary - this evening he has said his culture secretary did not break the ministerial code - but today's evidence and the latest in a series of Budget U-turns have shone a harsh light on the judgements made by the prime minister and his closest ally and adviser, the chancellor.