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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Cambridge / London - £47,000

£40000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing ...

Sauce Recruitment: Sales Executive - Consumer Exhibition - 12 month Fixed Term Con

£20000 - £22000 per annum + up to £22K + commission : Sauce Recruitment: The ...

Sauce Recruitment: Senior Sales Executive - Premium Food and Drink Events

£24000 - £26000 per annum + up to £26K + team commission: Sauce Recruitment: H...

Sauce Recruitment: Financial Planning & Analysis Analyst (FP&A)- Entertainment

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A major film studio are looking ...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms