David Cameron to face Leveson Inquiry next week

 

David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown are among a string of major political figures due to appear before the Leveson Inquiry next week.

The Prime Minister, Chancellor, Deputy Prime Minister and former Prime Minister will give evidence to the inquiry into press standards, along with Labour leader Ed Miliband and former Prime Minister Sir John Major.

Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman and Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond will also give evidence at London's Royal Courts of Justice.

Monday to Thursday will be devoted to the evidence of the eight current and former politicians, with the whole of Thursday set aside for Mr Cameron's.

Mr Brown and Mr Osborne will appear on Monday, Sir John, Mr Miliband and Ms Harman on Tuesday and Mr Clegg and Mr Salmond on Wednesday.

Their evidence will come after a one-week break in Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry.

At the last hearing before the adjournment, on May 31, Jeremy Hunt survived a six-hour grilling over his handling of the News Corporation bid for BSkyB.

Mr Cameron judged afterwards that the Culture Secretary had acted "properly" throughout the period when he was responsible for the bid and decided not to order an investigation into whether he had breached the ministerial code of conduct.

Mr Hunt also insisted there was no reason for him to quit - though he admitted in his evidence that he had considered resigning.

He also accepted that chatty messages he exchanged with News Corp's James Murdoch while he was responsible for deciding on the BSkyB issue were, with hindsight, inappropriate.

Fresh evidence also emerged of his personal involvement in the BSkyB issue shortly before he was handed quasi-judicial responsibility for it.

Text messages handed over to the inquiry showed he texted Mr Osborne to express fears the Government was going to "screw up" the deal.

He contacted the Chancellor after receiving a phone call from Mr Murdoch questioning the legitimacy of the process when secret recordings of Business Secretary Vince Cable "declaring war" on News Corp emerged.

Mr Cameron and Mr Brown will be asked about their meetings with News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch when they give evidence.

Mr Cameron will also face questioning over his relationship with former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

The close friendship between the pair was laid bare when Mrs Brooks appeared before the inquiry last month.

There will be questions to Mr Cameron over the appointment of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as Downing Street's communications chief and his relationship with News Corp in general.

Mr Osborne will be asked about his role in the appointment after Mr Coulson told the inquiry last month that within two months of his resignation from the now defunct Sunday tabloid, Mr Osborne was courting him for the job.

Mr Osborne could also be questioned over any role he had in the BSkyB saga after it emerged during Mr Hunt's evidence that, after expressing his concerns, the Culture Secretary had been texted by the Chancellor on the subject.

Less than an hour before responsibility for the bid was transferred to Mr Hunt, Mr Osborne sent him a message saying: "I hope you like the solution."

Mrs Brooks said she had a three-minute conversation about the bid with Mr Osborne at a dinner in December 2010. The bid was later dropped.

Mr Brown is likely to give his version of the incident in which he is said to have told Rupert Murdoch he had declared war on his media empire after The Sun switched its support to the Conservatives in September 2009.

Mr Murdoch told the inquiry in April that Mr Brown had rung him in an "unbalanced" state of mind when the tabloid abandoned Labour following the then prime minister's conference speech.

The billionaire businessman said his "warm personal relationship" with Mr Brown broke down after this.

The former premier might also discuss The Sun's 2006 story about his son Fraser having cystic fibrosis.

Mrs Brooks denied the story had been obtained through hacking into medical records and said the information came from a source connected to a charity for the condition.

The inquiry has heard that Mr Brown was very close to Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre and, according to Labour's Lord Mandelson, had a "great friendship" with him.

Asked if Mr Dacre had any influence on policy, Lord Mandelson said it may have affected Mr Brown's cooling on Europe and the single currency but suggested that was "by no means the only influence".

The friendship is another topic on which Mr Brown could face questions.

The other figures entering the witness box in courtroom 73 next week are also set to face questions over their relations with the press.

Previous evidence to the inquiry has indicated that Sir John's relations with the Murdoch papers were at times less friendly than those enjoyed by other premiers.

Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie recalled one conversation with the then-prime minister, on the night the UK crashed out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in September 1992, which seemed to illustrate the point.

Mr MacKenzie said he told Sir John: "I've got a bucket of s*** on my desk, prime minister, and I'm going to pour it all over you," when the then-leader asked how the story was going to be covered in the paper the next day.

Mr Miliband and Ms Harman have both been critical of the Murdoch empire, with the Labour leader saying its size was unhealthy.

He has also branded its influence on British politics "dangerous" and called for it to be broken up.

Mr Clegg has joined calls for greater "plurality" too, and reportedly criticised politicians who competed to "bow and scrape" before Rupert Murdoch.

Ms Harman has accused the Murdoch empire of becoming too mighty for the Government and the police, and last January The Sun reported that the "po-faced" Labour deputy had asked "the girls in the House of Commons" to help her ban the tabloid's page 3 pictures of topless women.

Scottish First Minister Mr Salmond faces questioning at the inquiry over a relationship with Rupert Murdoch that he has characterised as "good and business-like" despite Labour criticism of his links to the media magnate.

Mr Miliband described Mr Salmond as an "undercover lobbyist" for Mr Murdoch after Lord Justice Leveson heard that News Corp thought the SNP leader would intervene on behalf of the company's BSkyB takeover bid.

Mr Cameron set up the Leveson Inquiry last July in response to revelations that the News of the World hacked murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone after she disappeared in 2002.

The first part of the inquiry is looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the press in general and is due to produce a report by October.

The second part, examining the extent of unlawful activities by journalists, will not begin until detectives have completed their investigation into alleged phone hacking and corrupt payments to police, and any prosecutions have been concluded.

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreEXCLUSIVE The Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
News
news
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Antoine Griezmann has started two of France’s four games so far
sport
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Graduate Sales Executive

17.5k + Commission (£18.5k after probation period): ESI Media: You will be res...

PPC Account Managers

£25k - £30k (DOE): Guru Careers: Two expert PPC Account Managers are needed to...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor