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John Denham MP, Labour's Shadow Business Secretary, after receiving the Cabinet Secretary's response to his letter earlier today on possible breaches of the Ministerial Code by Vince Cable and Jeremy Hunt suitability to take a decision on the NewsCorp / BSkyB deal, said:

“This is not just an issue about transferring responsibility for the NewsCorp decision to another government department. The impact of this affects areas which have nothing to do with competition policy and will involve huge changes to the machinery of government.

“All of this has been forced upon David Cameron because of Vince Cable’s remarks. The scale of their response shows it is much, much more serious than merely transferring responsibility for a single decision.

“In the light of this it is essential that we are given a proper response to my question about whether Vince Cable broke the Ministerial Code or not. I have enormous respect for Gus O’Donnell but he really must provide us with an answer.

“In respect of the Cabinet Secretary’s remarks about Jeremy Hunt, I have to say there is an issue here about public confidence. It is not just a question of ensuring decisions are taken properly but also making sure that they are seen to be taken properly.

“The Cabinet Secretary’s letter makes clear that there was so much doubt about Jeremy Hunt’s suitability for this role that they were forced to consult top lawyers yesterday.

“It is very hard to see how any decision Jeremy Hunt makes will enjoy complete confidence.

“What Labour has always asked for in this case is that both sides are given a fair hearing – and are seen to be given a fair hearing.”

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