Leveson to train his sights on the big guns of British politics

Martin Hickman anticipates next week's key questions

New text messages and emails between senior Government ministers and Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate are set to be disclosed at the Leveson Inquiry next week.

David Cameron, George Osborne and Nick Clegg will undergo hours of questioning about their dealings with News Corp and its newspapers. Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown and Alex Salmond will also appear.

In recent weeks, the inquiry has disclosed embarrassing messages between News Corp and the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, his adviser Adam Smith and other senior ministers. Last night a spokesman stressed: "All witnesses have to provide all relevant material." This is the line-up:

Monday:

George Osborne

Of all the Cabinet ministers, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was closest to Rupert Murdoch. According to News International's former chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, he recommended that Mr Cameron appoint Andy Coulson as his press chief in May 2007, months after he resigned from the News of the World.

After Vince Cable was stripped of overseeing News Corp's takeover of BSkyB in December 2010, Mr Osborne texted Mr Hunt "I hope you like our solution", passing the decision to Mr Hunt. Did Mr Osborne apply pressure on the PM to give the deal to a minister who supported Mr Murdoch?

Gordon Brown

The former PM claims The Sunday Times employed a "blagger" to access his bank account, and also suspects that The Sun used foul play to obtain a story about his son Fraser. According to Mr Murdoch, after The Sun switched allegiance to the Tories in September 2009, Mr Brown told him: "We have no alternative but to declare war on your company." Mr Brown told the Commons last year he had rejected News Corp's attempts to influence government policy on the BBC licence fee and sports rights. What evidence does he have for his claims? Did he really "declare war" on Mr Murdoch?

Tuesday:

Sir John Major

The ex-Tory PM was regularly pilloried by The Sun. According to the former Labour MP Chris Mullin, Mr Major wanted to limit Mr Murdoch's power but was reluctant to do so without cross-party support. Mr Major also appears to have refrained from introducing a privacy law. Why?

Ed Miliband

The Labour leader attacked News International last July after disclosures about the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone. In an interview last year, he indicated that the company had warned him about making future attacks. What were the details of this?

Wednesday:

Nick Clegg

The Deputy PM is said to have warned Mr Cameron against taking Mr Coulson into Downing Street after the election. What did he suspect and what does he think of News International's attitude towards the Lib Dems?

Alex Salmond

The SNP leader enjoys the support of The Sun. Did he cut a deal with Mr Murdoch, and was his mobile hacked by the NOTW?

Thursday:

David Cameron

The Prime Minister is set to be grilled all day. The inquiry will be keen to know what assurances he sought from Mr Coulson before appointing him – and why he ignored advice against taking him into Government. He will also be asked about his relationship with Ms Brooks, to whom he signed off texts "LOL" (which he thought meant "lots of love").

When did Mr Cameron learn that The Sun would swing its support behind him? Did Mr Murdoch or his son James ask for anything in return? Also key will be the PM's decision to pass the BSkyB decision to Mr Hunt, despite having received a memo from him supporting the deal.

Leveson: The line-up:

George Osborne

The Chancellor hosted Andy Coulson, Rebekah Brooks and her husband at his country home, Dorneywood, in 2010. Did they mull over News Corp's £7.8bn takeover of BSkyB – if so, what was said?

Ed Miliband

The Labour leader is likely to have an easier ride than Mr Cameron, having condemned the News of the World after the Milly Dowler scandal. He later said News International had warned him not to speak out: did it?

Gordon Brown

Will the former PM reprise his denunciation of News Corp aired in the Commons last July? During that long speech, Mr Brown accused News International of consorting with the "criminal underworld".

Alex Salmond

That the SNP leader and Rupert Murdoch are friends is certain – but has Mr Murdoch gained anything in return for his support? In particular, did Mr Salmond lobby Westminster over the BSkyB deal?

David Cameron

The PM texted his love to Rebekah Brooks and rode Raisa, the police horse she borrowed from the Met – but the toughest questions he faces revolve around his dealings with the Murdochs and the BSkyB bid.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
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

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Display Account Manager

£25,000 to £35,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: The Company Our client are th...

Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director

£80 – 120K : Sphere Digital Recruitment: Sales Director – Ad tech - £80 – 120K...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas