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Broadband minister Hunt LOSES portfolio, takes on national health

Forget about download speed, just try not to kill them

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Jeremy Hunt, who is the minister responsible for the government's ambitious faster broadband roll out, has been shifted out of the department for media, culture and sport into a new cabinet role as Health Secretary.

As recently as April this year, the Tory MP and homeopathy fan faced calls from the opposition to stand down after Hunt admitted he was "sympathetic" to Rupert Murdoch's bid to buy out BSkyB.

The minister's special advisor, Adam Smith – with whom Hunt had worked "extremely closely" for six years – quit his post after emails were released that showed in detail the secret talks that went on regarding Murdoch-owned News Corp's move to take over BSkyB.

The media giant eventually ditched the attempted merger at the height of the phone-hacking scandal in July 2011. But it has since emerged that messages between News Corp top flack Frédéric Michel and Smith appeared to strongly indicate that Hunt was backing the corporation's attempt to own BSkyB outright.

Despite that, Prime Minister David Cameron told MPs in April that he was sticking by Hunt.

Months later, the PM is displaying the same commitment to his minister, handing Hunt the job of Health Secretary left vacant by a sacked Andrew Lansley, who becomes Leader of the House of Commons.

Hunt told the BBC this morning that his new job was "the biggest privilege of my life" and added that he was keen to get started.

Number 10 just confirmed that Maria Miller has replaced Hunt. She takes on a broad portfolio that includes the government's revised promise to gift the UK with the "best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015."

But she doesn't just head up the Ministry of Fun. Miller is also now the Minister for Women & Equalities.

Meanwhile, Ken Clarke learned this morning that he was no longer Justice Secretary and instead bags a wishy-washy role within the Cabinet Office. He was replaced by former work and pensions minister Chris Grayling. ®

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