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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
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
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

Digital Project Manager / Web Project Manager

£45-50k (DOE) + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced ...

Account Manager

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Account Manager to join ...

Social Advertising Manager / Social Media Manager

£Excellent + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Social Advertising Manager / Social Med...

Web Developer / Front End Web Developer

£30 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Front End Web Developer (PHP ...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment