Watchdog launches Hunt inquiry

Westminster's sleaze watchdog has launched an inquiry into Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt following claims that he failed to register donations from media firms, it was revealed.

Parliamentary standards commissioner John Lyon initiated the probe in response to a complaint earlier this month from Labour MP Stephen McCabe.

Mr McCabe wrote to the commissioner raising concerns about a series of "networking events" involving eight creative industry organisations which culture minister Ed Vaizey said he and Mr Hunt had attended while in opposition.

Although Mr Vaizey recorded the events in the register of interests as donations in kind worth a total of around £27,000, Mr Hunt did not mention them in his own entry in the register, said Mr McCabe.

A spokeswoman for the Culture Secretary, who has come under fire from Labour over the closeness of his office's links with News International during its bid for BSkyB, said he had amended his register entry since the complaint was raised.

She declined to comment on the allegations, but said that Mr Hunt would co-operate with the commissioner's inquiry.

Mr Lyon's office confirmed that an inquiry had been launched but refused to comment further.