Leveson Inquiry: Adam Smith - Live coverage - The Independent

Leveson Inquiry: Adam Smith

Adam Smith and Jonathan Stephens give evidence at the Leveson Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press.

  • PA: Prime Minister David Cameron told ITV's This Morning "I don't regret'' giving Jeremy Hunt the role in deciding on News Corporation's takeover of BSkyB and said the Culture Secretary had acted "impartially''.
    5/25/2012 10:00:06 AM
  • I think Jeremy Hunt has moved into same parallel universe as the Jubilee and the Olympics. Not on same planet as rest of us. #huntmustgo
  • Back to the "Swan Lake" email. Smith has never seen Swan Lake, but he doesn't know where Mr Hunt was.
    5/25/2012 10:10:23 AM
  • Smith denies that the departmental view was that Ofcom were dead against the bid, but concedes he knew that this is what News Corp felt.
    5/25/2012 10:13:46 AM
  • Fred Michel is clearly a Bug-a-boo. Destiny's Child have written a song warning of this kind of behaviour. #leveson #huntmustgo
  • Jay: "Do you think Mr Smith that you would have expressed an opinion to Mr Michel that was not Mr Hunt's opinion?
    5/25/2012 10:20:38 AM
  • Smith: "I'm sure that I often say things that aren't Mr Hunt's opinion, yes."
    5/25/2012 10:20:59 AM
  • Smith: "For me to call Mr Hunt at 7 o'clock in the evening was not unusual." Jay wants him to admit the conversation must have been about the bid, given timing and context.
    5/25/2012 10:25:00 AM
  • Smith: "I'm sure I often say things which are not Mr Hunt's opinion." Mmm. He was Hunt's right-hand man for 6 years. #Leveson
  • BREAKING (as they say on Sky News, though this came from ITV News):

    37-year-old woman arrested by Met Police's Operation Elveden on suspicion of making payments to police officers, following information passed by News Corp's management and standards committee.

    Sounds like she is a journalist...
    5/25/2012 10:28:02 AM
  • Now Jay is being withering. He's fed up with the 'I don't recognise' etc evasions. Expect fireworks imminently. #Leveson
  • There's a lot of use of the pronoun "we" in these messages, for communication that's apparently between parties with entirely different aims, as Jay points out.
    5/25/2012 10:33:03 AM
  • Ah. "I can't remember." #Leveson
  • Finally a call that Smith "vaguely" remembers. Because it was at 3 in the morning.
    5/25/2012 10:40:21 AM
  • Did Smith pass on Paul Dacre's comments to the Secretary of State to Mr Michel? Smith says no.
    5/25/2012 10:45:55 AM
  • Jay: "Privately, Mr Smith by this point you must have had an opinion...about the merits of this view, are we agreed?"
    5/25/2012 10:49:30 AM
  • I may have given evidence at #Leveson last year. I just can't remember.
  • Smith: "My personal view was that if the consultation didn't through up anything we hadn't have though of that the undertakings in lieu would have worked."
    5/25/2012 10:50:30 AM
  • Jay would like this view translated from legalese into plain English. Smith is reluctant to make that translation.
    5/25/2012 10:51:30 AM
  • Leveson refers him to Hunt's email to Cameron revealed yesterday. Smith "I didn't go quite as far as Mr Hunt in that sense."
    5/25/2012 10:53:57 AM
  • Smith insists he didn't really have an opinion.
    "I was not that fussed as I said yesterday."
    5/25/2012 10:55:04 AM
  • "In this particular bid I would argue that I was more of a buffer than representing Mr Hunt's views."
    5/25/2012 10:56:28 AM
  • Did you feel you were speaking for your Secretary of State? Smith says he was just a "buffer and a channel of communications." #Leveson
  • Smith, the special advisor to the media minister, suggests he wasn't fussed about a deal being opposed by most of the media. #Leveson
  • We're not really getting anywhere with this evidence session. Smith is articulate and evasive; Jay is probing but unable to extract significant concessions.

    Smith insists that he had not particular feelings about the BSkyB bid one way or another and nothing much went wrong.

    Check this exchange for the lack of contrition and revelation:

    Jay asks whether Smith's relationship with News Corp lobbyist Fred Michel had become too close?

    Smith replies: "I think the tone of some of the language I may have used in some of the texts, in hindsight, may have been too flippant and loose but I don't think the substance of what we had been through was inappropriate."
    5/25/2012 11:02:38 AM
  • "We can't tell journalists that can we." Quite a damning phrase in a text from Smith to Michel.
    5/25/2012 11:03:05 AM
  • "I think the tone of some of the language that I may have used in some of the texts in hindsight was a bit flippant and loose certainly, but I don't think the substance of what we've been through was inappropriate". Smiths response to Jay's question, had his relationship with Michel been inappropriately close?
    5/25/2012 11:04:24 AM
  • "I certainly don't remember Mr Hunt ever saying anything about share price", but they did discuss the heat he was taking.
    5/25/2012 11:13:49 AM
  • Jay: "If you accept that there was a conversation within half an hour of this email, one possible inference is that you're the source of the information"
    5/25/2012 11:26:44 AM
  • Smith: "I would agree that this was possible"
    5/25/2012 11:27:02 AM
  • Smith: "If he [Hunt] had been constantly badgered to the extent that I was then it might have got to him."
    5/25/2012 11:33:09 AM
  • Smith says no one criticised his conduct before his resignation. Yet everyone said he had to go?
    5/25/2012 11:41:01 AM
  • It was "the perception that something untoward had happened", which motivated his resignation, says Smith.
    5/25/2012 11:41:46 AM
  • Mr Smith has completed his evidence. The next witness will be called at 1.45pm.
    5/25/2012 11:44:26 AM
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