Jeremy Hunt named Britain's culture secretary

Ex-Conservative party spokesman on media, broadcasting

LONDON -- Former Conservative party spokesman on media and broadcasting Jeremy Hunt has been named Britain's new culture and media secretary, in the new Conservative/Liberal Democrats coalition government that took office Tuesday.

Hunt, who before the election had made clear his intention to scrap the BBC's oversight committee, the BBC Trust, in favor of external regulation, is known to favor a trimming of the pubcaster's wings -- as well as its £3.5 billion ($5.3 billion)-a-year guaranteed funding mechanism.

But with departmental responsibility for the London 2012 Olympics -- already rumored to be in budgetary difficulties -- Hunt is also in charge of a high-profile project that will likely be his main priority, leaving the government little time or stomach to take on major media reform.

"The Olympics is our number one priority and what we need to do is to grasp the opportunity," Hunt told BBC News.

Other ministerial appointments in the department have yet to be announced.
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