Fact File: The Leveson Inquiry


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The Independent Online

When the Leveson Inquiry opened in November 2011, Lord Justice Leveson summed up its purpose with a single question: “Who guards the guardians?"

The ethics and freedom of the British press, these ‘guardians’ of public life, have been the central themes of the months-long , two-part inquiry into the hacking scandal and the ability of the press to self-regulate. The inquiry has also become must-see TV in its own right.

The revelations have included the extent of illegal payments, Horsegate and the contents of Jeremy Hunt’s inbox. The players have included movie stars, police officers and representatives of every major newspaper in the UK.

It has even made a minor celebrity of lead counsel Robert Jay QC, whose mild-mannered questioning style has been both criticised and praised. Is it any wonder Hollywood came knocking?

The Numbers

13 – Applicants for core participant status declined by Leveson, as of April 2012. These include the disgraced radio DJ Jonathan King. Source: The Leveson Inquiry

8 – Government ministers granted core participant status. Source: BBC News

£150,000 – Amount given to one Sun journalist to make “illegal payments” Source: Reuters

£1,992,600 – Overall cost of the Leveson Inquiry from mid-July 2011 to 31 January 2012. Source: The Leveson Inquiry

Further Reading

I didn’t get rid of Page 3 – can Leveson? Clare Short, The Independent, 2012

Leveson’s legacy must be to keep our press free, Evgeny Lebedev, The Independent, 2012

The Counter-Leveson Inquiry, Brendan O’Neil, Spiked, 2012

Leveson sketch: Dacre – the sequel, Peter McHugh, New Statesman, 2012

The Woman Who Could Bring Down Cameron, Peter Jukes, the Daily Beast, 2012


July 2011 – The Prime Minister announces a two-part inquiry investigating the role of the press and police in the hacking scandal

Nov 2011 – Lord Justice Leveson opens an inquiry into the “culture, practices and ethics of the press”

Nov 2011 –  Actor Hugh Grant appears before Leveson and accuses the Mail on Sunday of phone hacking.

Feb 2012  –  Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers tells the inquiry of a “culture of illegal payments” at the Sun newspaper.

Feb 2012 – The inquiry hears that Brooks was loaned a horse by the Metropolitan police in 2008. David Cameron later admits that he rode the horse in question.