Jeremy Hunt's special adviser, Adam Smith, has just announced his resignation. Here's his statement in full:
"While it was part of my role to keep News Corporation informed throughout the BskyB bid process, the content and extent of my contact was done without authorisation from the Secretary of State. I do not recognise all of what Fred Michel said, but nonetheless I appreciate that my activities at times went too far and have, taken together, created the perception that News Corporation had too close a relationship with the department, contrary to the clear requirements set out by Jeremy Hunt and the permanent secretary that this needed to be a fair and scrupulous process. Whilst I firmly believe that the process was in fact conducted scrupulously fairly, as a result of my activities it is only right for me to step down as special adviser to Jeremy Hunt."
It's hard not to see this move as an attempt to shield Hunt himself from further blame - if his SpAd admits fault and has departed, surely the minister can continue unscathed?
I'm not so sure. Smith might claim that it was his actions alone that "at times went too far", but it's hard to see how the resignation of one special adviser can detoxify a story. Hunt is giving a statement to the House of Commons after PMQs. It's going to need to be the performance of his life if he's to escape from this unscathed.