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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Urgent Requirement - Central Manchester

£20000 - £23000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Guru Careers: Social Media Executive / SEO Executive

£20 - 25K + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Social Media...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions