The Lib Dems are set to deliver a blow to coalition unity on Wednesday by refusing to back the embattled culture secretary Jeremy Hunt in a vote in the House of Commons.
Labour requested the debate for MPs to argue over whether Mr Hunt’s handling of News Corp’s BSkyBbid should be examined by David Cameron’s adviser on ministers’ interests, Sir Alex Allan.
But all Lib Dem MPs – including senior ministers – are set to abstain in what party aides described as a “plague on both your houses” move.
Nick Clegg, party leader, is concerned that he was not asked for his approval before the prime minister gave his full support to Mr Hunt and ruled out an inquiry.
That decision was made just minutes after the culture secretary gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry on press standards last month. “It was not a decision endorsed by Mr Clegg or by the Lib Dems,” said his spokesman.
Lib Dem MPs agreed the move at a unanimous meeting at the Commons on Tuesday evening where there was “not a single dissenting voice”.
The move will be only the second mass abstention by the Lib Dems while in government; the first was against a DUP motion in December 2011 hailing the prime minister’s use of the veto at a European summit.Page 1 of 3 | Next Page