Leveson threatened to quit after public attack by Gove
Sunday 17 June 2012
The judge leading the investigation into media ethics in the wake of the phone hacking scandal was poised to quit following a public attack on the probe by the Education Secretary, it was reported today.
Lord Justice Leveson complained to Downing Street's most powerful civil servant about claims made by Michael Gove that the inquiry had created a “chilling atmosphere” towards freedom of the Press, according to the Mail on Sunday.
In a telephone call with Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood he called for the Tory to be “gagged” and warned the inquiry was being undermined, it said.
Sir Jeremy is reported to have told Prime Minister David Cameron about the conversation.
“Our clear impression was that he was spitting tacks with Gove and was ready to resign unless the Minister was told to shut up,” a Government source told the newspaper.
Mr Gove, a former journalist at the News Corporation-owned Times, told a Parliamentary Press Gallery lunch in February that he saw “dangers” in the inquiry into press cultures, practices and ethics.
Lord Justice Leveson instructed his officials to compile a full report of the comments and he phoned Sir Jeremy within 24 hours, it was reported.
Called to give evidence at the inquiry last month, the Conservative Cabinet Minister went on to make an even more robust assessment about the potential outcome of the probe, warning the judge that inquiry recommendations were often “applied in a way that the cure is worse than the disease”.
The pair then clashed when Mr Gove raised concerns about restraints on the “precious liberty” of freedom of speech. In an apparent slap down, Lord Justice Leveson said: “I do not need to be told about the importance of freedom of speech, I really don't.”
Earlier this week he opened the hearings by warning it was “essential” cross-party political support for his investigation was “not jeopardised”.
A Leveson Inquiry spokesman said: “Lord Justice Leveson is conducting a judicial inquiry and, in that capacity, will not comment on press stories outside the formal proceedings of the inquiry.”
Downing Street, the Cabinet Office and Mr Gove's spokesman all refused to comment.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 4 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 5 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook CEO's one simple test for who to hire
Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
'A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy': The statement that shocked the world... except India
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Saudi Arabia executions now at 'unprecedented rate' after kingdom kills four more in two days
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...
£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...