13 May 2012

Leveson Inquiry - Module 3 - Day 4 - Campbell and O'Donnell

Monday, 14th May 2012

Today's Witnesses:
Alastair Campbell - (Former Director of Communications and Strategy for Tony Blair)
Sir Gus O'Donnell - ( Former Cabinet Secretary )

Module 3 - Key Questions to be addressed in this Module

Useful Links:
Leveson Inquiry Witness Statements HERE 
Leveson Inquiry Witness Lists HERE 

Video Recordings of each day's proceedings HERE

Live Feed From Leveson Inquiry Site HERE

BBC Democracy Live Feed HERE 
Guardian Live Blog HERE

Links to latest articles, comment and information relevant to the Leveson Inquiry: 
Today's proceedings Begins with an Opening Statement by News International:

Mr Rhodri Davies giving Opening Statement for News International in answer to Mr Jay's
Rhodri Davies QC is making a statement on behalf of News International attacking Robert Jay for muddying definitions of corruption.
Davies says Jay confused support by a paper for a political party it just agrees with. Jay implied it wd be sinister to do that. 
"But that is exactly what they are supposed to do. Problem comes when proprietors prostitute their papers..."
"...to support politicians they don't agree with in exchange for favours."
Davies says there is no evidence of underhand deals. Jay didn't argue that R MUrdoch asked for favours, Davies says.
Davies: Acquisition of Times has served as "original sin" of Rupert in UK. From that premise, Rupert was questioned about investment.
Documentary evidence did not support thesis that any deal was done. So Jay opened up a science fiction theory...
"that deals were done via "finely tuned antennae". Davies says this is the stuff of fantasy. Deals cannot be done by telepathy."
Documentary record leaves no room for implied deals either. Meeting with Thatcher did not mention regulatory deals.
[This is part of an NI fightback to unfair persecution of their business in the UK-Les HInton responded strongly to select cttee overnight]
[Davies cites the Hansard record from 1981 to show that Jay is reading far too much into the Thatcher meeting and Murdoch's lobbying]
Davies cites Chris Mullin's diaries in which then Trade and Industry secretary John Biffen told him everything was above board.
The "implied deal approach" by Jay would mean that Biffen was just 'camouflage'. Murdoch had not done any kind of deal.
 Mr Murdoch has nothing to lie about. The documents tell the story. Murdoch says he still can't remember the Thatcher lunch.
Suggestion he is lying is... a conviction not to face the evidence. Mr Murdoch has nothing to hide.
Davies says that any assertion of underhand deals by Murdoch has been demolished, Davies says. Rest of NI's history in UK stands on that.
[Jay goes straight on to the first witness, Gus O'Donnell, not replying to what was a very hard attack on his conduct of the inquiry.]

(Davies offers to provide full copy of his Opening Statement to the Inquiry)

Lord Gus O'Donnell   Witness Statement in Full

 In his first major speech in the House of Commons since he resigned as prime minister last year, Brown took the unprecedented step of reading a summary of O'Donnell's advice – which said an inquiry would be seen as politically motivated."I deeply regret my inability to do then what I wanted to do and to overturn the advice of all the authorities and set up a judicial inquiry," Brown said. His speech dominated the Commons debate on News Corp and prompted the angriest exchanges between the Speaker, John Bercow, and Tory MPs who noisily tried to interrupt.
Guardian Live Blog HERE
Lord O'Donnell begins his testimony
Lord O'Donnell is the first witness. Says "enormous benefit" to free press holding government to account.
O'Donnell was press secretary to John Major. "Job was to to get back to situation where all papers represented in the lobby".

O'Donnell discussing role as press secretary, says job was to get back to situation where all newspapers were represented in lobby
O'Donnell: trying to establish general principles of press secretary being there to impartially present govt policy to all media
O'Donnell: Something of a myth developed that tabloids highly influential in '92 election
O'Donnell adds that prime ministers care a lot about what media say about them, get upset when inaccuracies reported
Mr Jay questioning Lord Gus O'Donnell
O'Donnell: Major particularly upset by stories of personal nature. He took a keen interest in the press.

O'Donnell at #leveson: if you televised lobby briefings then PM press sec becomes a very public fig, associated with policies

Gus O'Donnell beautifully glosses over John Major's midnight reading of first editions, just saying he took an interest
 Gus O'Donnell quick learner. Tells #leveson BBC and Times websites side by side on iPad. Told Camilla Long couldn't make ipad work


O'Donnell: for me dark arts were when people spun one story to different papers in different ways
O'Donnell: if you contrast US-UK newspapers, you'll find that US papers separate opinion from news more
Lord Justice Leveson asking about way editors put their paper's slant on pressrelease from Government
O'Donnell: in US papers separate opinion & news much more (mixing of two something Campbell talks about) 
O'Donnell: suggests s/thing should be done to reinforce separation of news and comment in papers 
G O'D: do readers understand BBC online & Times online are subject to 2 v different sets of regulations & are regs appropriate? 

O'Donnell: In a democracy, for politicians to get their msg across it is important that they’re given a stage
O'Donnell adds that this can create difficulties of closeness
O'Donnell: legislation would be specific to technology we have now, I suspect tech will be different in 5 years' time

O'Donnell: We've created a structure which incentivises politicians to persuade papers they have right set of policies.

From Guardian Live Blog:
O'Donnell is asked about the perceived closeness between newspaper proprietors and top politicians.
"The degree of relationships increased through time, there's no doubt about that," he says. "But I am not aware of anything … where I think something happened that shouldn't have done."
O'Donnell says it is in politicians' "strong interests" to talk to editors and proprietors to explain policies and attempt to win their support.
"As long as you have newspapers which are allowed to strongly support political parties … that relationship is going to continue."
O'Donnell says he would like to see a shift to a US model for newspapers, which largely separate "pretty straight" news stories from editorial opinion.
O'Donnell: I think the current PM himself has said that he felt his relationships had got too close, and I agree with him.

From Guardian Live Blog:
O'Donnell asks for the inquiry to explore the potential for separating news and comment in newspapers; he says these two are "much more mixed up than I think it should be".
Lord Justice Leveson asks whether it is tenable for broadcasters to remain impartial.
O'Donnell says any regulation of the media should "look at" all media, including broadcasters and newspapers, because to do otherwise would "create incentives" for the different mediums.
"Do the readers understand that they are actually subject to different sets of regulation?" asks O'Donnell. He is worried that specific legislation to cover the media would cover today's technology, but adds that it is very complex "which is why we have such an eminent inquiry..."
"Don't start," interrupts Leveson, to laughter.
O'Donnell: You see particular stories appearing in a paper which have particular slant to them. Experience suggests come from Spad.
O'Donnell: Recent experiences over phone hacking, the Milly Dowler story and the rest of it have clearly dented the public's trust.

Jay says O'Donnell w statement describes current press regulation as discredited form of self regulation
O'Donnell: ministerial code is a v important document and ministers take it very seriously
For those hanging on every detail of Ministerial Code clause discussion - you can read along here
Gus O'Donnell discussing his advice to PM on what meetings with editors ministers shd disclose
Gus: on whether every minister/journo meeting shd be declared: would be disproportionate and don't think it would work

O'Donnell: If you have a lifelong friend who works in industry X, may have to amend behaviour if policy conflict arises.
O'Donnell: Truth is, all politicians come into politics having developed a social circle already. They have friends.
O'Donnell: Taken view we should define the line at proprietors and senior editors, need transparency but shouldn't be stopped.
O'Donnell: If it is just social meeting then transparency is the answer. If you monitor everything gets into the ridiculous area,

O'Donnell: important that with proprietors and chairs that we're open about this, transparency the right solution

Guardian Live Blog:
O'Donnell says it would be "disproportionate" to record all details of meetings between politicians and journalists – these conversations are the "basic lifeblood" of media and politics, he says – so he sets the bar at editors and proprietors.
"These should be noted in a transparent way, but they shouldn't be stopped," he adds.
O'Donnell says that if a minister is personal friends with an editor he would urge transparency over their meetings and caution over what they discuss.
O'Donnell: By publishing meetings hopefully we’ll influence perceptions + show minsters have nothing to hide in these interactions.
O'Donnell: By publishing meetings hopefully we’ll influence perceptions +show ministers have nothing to hide in these interactions.

O'Donnell suggests rule requiring special advisors to work in coalition govt interest will become strained towards end of Parl
Jay quotes from code: "responsibility for management & conduct of special advisors rests with minister who made the appointment"
O'Donnell on Campbell order in council power : v pleased when it was abandoned, isn't experiment we'd try again
O'Donnell: since 92 growth in importance of special adviser in No10

O'donnell: when special advisers have had to resign in recent years, it's because they have become a bigger story

Ministerial code being discussed at #Leveson earlier is available to view here -

Gus O'Donnell says No 10 dir of comms is a civil servant. News to Craig Oliver
Gus O'Donnell #leveson: good Orders in Council, which allowed SPADs to issue instructions, no more. No mention they were Lord Butler's idea

O'Donnell on Campbell: We've seen in the period since 1992 the growth of the importance of that special advisor in Number 10.

O'Donnell: risk that top comms special adviser in No10 becomes too party political but solves risk of politicising c servants
O'Donnell: shift to special advisers with media rather than policy background is to be regretted  
O'Donnell cites Ed Balls as a special adviser who was on top of subject matter
O'Donnell: there's an absence of standard management structure for SpAds; they don't have a manager, objectives, appraisals

Guardian Live Blog:
The inquiry has resumed and O'Donnell is asked about the appointment of Alastair Campbell as Tony Blair's director of communications in 1997.
Campbell was given the power to direct civil servants below him, according the Robert Jay QC. O'Donnell says: "I didn't think this was a good idea and I was glad when it was abandoned" because it gave the perception that impartial civil servants could be influenced politically.
Now, the prime minister's director of communications has no power to direct civil servants.
O'Donnell: Recent events demonstrated the need to keep Spads out of areas where ministers operating in a quasi-judicial capacity.

Guardian Live Blog:
O'Donnell explains that the prime minister has a number of press secretaries and advisers in No 10, but most are senior civil servants. Only Craig Oliver, the prime minister's current director of communications, is technically a special adviser on the media.
He says that the shift to special advisers with a media rather than a policy background is regrettable. He cites Ed Balls as a former special adviser who was a trained economist and so on top of his subject.
#leveson notes Jeremy Hunt's much cited comments on Murdoch on Hunt's website were well known before Hunt got BSkyB decision
O'Donnell talking Hunt but citing views already set out in public letter to John Denham
Lord O'Donnell says he was confident that Jeremy Hunt had not made a "pre-judgement" on News Corp's £8bn BSkyB bid  
O'donnell written statement: need to find better ways of policing the compliance of special advisers with their code
O'Donnell: Satisfied [Hunt's] statements don't amount to pre-judgment of the case, said didn't want to second guess regulators.
Now discussing Coulson & this O'Donnell letter
O'Donnell: you can have access to top secret material under SC clearance (which Coulson had) but it's frequent access that wd be the issue 

Gus O'Donnell tells #leveson Alastair Campbell probably went through deep vetting procedure that Andy Coulson did not go through
Gus O'Donnell tells #leveson DV not issue for Andy Coulson till airline bomb plot cos he had not been heavily involved in security issues
#leveson asks O'Donnell to provide details of which former No 10 dirs of comms were deep vetted to show no 'smoking gun' with Andy Coulson
Gus O'Donnell tells #leveson deep vetting would not uncover alleged phone hacking. DV designed to see if individual blackmailable

Gus O'Donnell #leveson: I had a bias towards keeping number of SPADS subject to deep vetting low to limit distribution of secret papers
O'Donnell thinks A Campbell went through higher DV process which Coulson didn't have (though he began before he lost job)
O'Donnell discussing the vetting of Andy Coulson, allowing him access to top secret documents. 
#Leveson: Might be worth identifying whether each comparative holders of Coulson post received higher level of vetting.

O'Donnell: developed vetting is about whether you're blackmailable, wdnt have gone into phone hacking
(this is all potentially helpful for govt re Coulson - arguing was Coulson's area of interest that meant he didn't have highest vetting)
O'Donnell: says Coulson did sign form about conflicts, should have declared shareholding (ie in News Corp)

O'Donnell says DV (developed vetting) is about whether you're blackmailable, wouldn't have gone into phone hacking
Lord O’Donnell says that Coulson's shareholdings should have been disclosed on his entry to No 10
O'Donnell: advised Gordon Brown when Chancellor to make Damian McBride special adviser rather than civil servant
O'Donnell: really important that pm's official spokesman is a civil servant, shouldn't be wiggleroom

1. O'Donnell v uncomfortable whn asked if Coulson's predescessors DV vetted. Claimed hd to work out which previous roles analagous. Nonsense
2. O'Donnell says some prev No 10 press secs were not initially DV vetted but later chose to be. Have heard no evidence of that.
3. GOD says aim was to to minimise no of people with access to Top Secret papers but Coulson had access to Top Sec papers - without vetting

4. O'Donnell says DV process wd not have looked in into hacking - only seeks to establish "if you're blackmailable". Err, contradiction?
5. #Leveson has askd for full record of whether prev press secs DV vetted - big prob now for No 10 if they were. (I know just 1 who wasn't)
6. Key question now is who was involved in discussions about Coulson's security clearance. #Leveson must call Jeremy Heywood + Ed Llewellyn

O'Donnell on Hunt: Would expect minister to be clear on what Spad should be doing, will make clear the nature of engagement.
O'Donnell: Talking about process is fine but you should make sure that the same information is passed on to all parties in a case.
O'Donnell: Fairness is absolutely crucial to what happened, that should be at the heart of the whole process.

O'Donnell on Hunt row: shd be made clear to all concerned that they shd operate fairly...that shd be at heart of process

Guardian Live Blog:
Lord Justice Leveson turns to the relationship between Jeremy Hunt's special adviser, Adam Smith, and the News Corp lobbyist Fred Michel over the BSkyB bid.
"It's clear in the special adviser's code that in terms of authorisation ministers should authorise their advisers to do," he says, adding that ministers should make clear what their special advisers should be doing.
Should that be documented? "Not necessarily. These are routine things," he says.
O'Donnell says that ministers are responsible for ensuring that their special advisers act fairly and that all information about process is being passed to all parties.
O'Donnell: I wouldn’t expect senior civil servants to have close relationships with media….all hospitality should be explicit.
O'Donnell on police: Absolutely crucial that the person you have when you put power in the press office not seen as partial.

O'Donnell: Jan 07 G O'D raised concern with Stephenson about unauthorised Met disclosures, specifically mentioned Yates 
O'Donnell: wasn't saying it was Yates, was just area Yates was in charge of
O'Donnell suggests police & media were too close (but again this friction known at time: )
(this also relates back to Quick's evidence, story about Yates phone recs etc )
O'Donnell: Quite apparent to me that a number of senior police officers had very strong links with the meda, in my view too close.
O'Donnell: Asked Sir Paul Stephenson to investigate police leaks, weren't coming from my end [Yates in charge of inv].

O'Donnell on regulation: I expect you to come up with a great answer to this. : I suppose I deserved that.

Gus O'Donnell suggests paper journos should use code civil servants operate to as rule of thumb when reporting news

O'Donnell: suggests "enhanced" info commissioner office cd be regulator

O'Donnell: We needed to find a way of moving forward on Op Motorman, suggested process where different people spoke to MoJ.
O'Donnell: I think that's as far as ministers were prepared to go at the time. The press very against insertion of clause.
O'Donnell: Strongly recommend to my successors they should consider whether inquiry outcome requires amendments to the Min Code.

#Leveson: Everything this inquiry generates for government to consider, I hope on cross-party basis otherwise much less valuable.
O'Donnell: Delighted inquiry is happening, sorry for all the work but you will provide answer to a long struggled-with question. 

#leveson asks O'Donnell for his thoughts on further amending the ministerial code
(so fmr cab sec to submit min code ideas to #leveson who will then recommend to govt)

Guardian Live Blog:
Jay asks whether there should be further enhancements to the ministerial code in relation to social interactions between ministers and the media.
O'Donnell says his advice to the prime minister was that "the social side does have to be there".
"I would strongly recommend to my successors that in the light of this inquiry whether that requires any amendments to the ministerial code," he adds.
He says that the current cabinet secretary should consider the outcome of the Leveson inquiry and whether to make relevant amendments to the ministerial code.
#leveson hearing how O'Donnell advised against a #leveson style inquiry while Brown was PM in 
O'Donnell's 2010 advice to PM doubtful over inquiry, could be subject to JR. Cost, precedent for future inquiries + timing issues.
Background on 2010 pre elex discussions (and document) here
GOD batted away 2 requests by Gordon Brown for public inquiry into phone hacking. Advised against in march 2010 and in sept 2010

Lord Gus O'Donnell's testmony ended

Alastair Campbell 

 - Second appearance at the Inquiry - #2 Witness Statement    #1 Witness Statement

Guardian Live Blog HERE
Alastair Campbell answering questions about his selection as Blair's Comms chief
Back at #Leveson. Alastair Campbell takes to the stand for the second time (first 13 Nov 2011), to be questioned by Robert Jay QC. 
AC: Blair told me wanted somebody strategic, who understood press and would be able to do job, don't recall wanted someone tabloid.
Jay: Blair book says "got a genuis" when hiring Campbell. Campbell replies: "Sweet".

Jay quotes Blair book: "[Campbell] had great clanking balls as well". [Laughter] #Leveson: Let's move on.

Alastair Campbell up now (read what he said during his last #Leveson appearance about the "putrid" press here: )
Campbell: Tony Blair told me wanted somebody strategic, who understood the press and would be able to do the job
Campbell says he went through developed vetting upon entering No. 10, was told early on that he would be 
Campbell: 1994-1997, the Sun not iconic but a significant player.

Alastair Campbell says he was developed vetted and did sign a confidentiality agreement on entering No 10
Campbell confirms he did receive "developed vetting" Coulson never completed

Campbell: Murdoch had greater power in 94 than now, followed "neutralisation strategy"
Campbell: Sun only paper that might have changed position; approach to Mail was to stop them being quite so vile
Campbell: I did feel a little bit uneasy at times (on courting R Murdoch)
AC: There was an assumption from the word go that I would be vetted. Lots of NATO issues going on, etc.
AC: There was a sense of a hierarchy, which papers were more important than others and the Sun was a significant player.
AC describes neutralisation strategy,"to try and ensure that we had a more level playing field" in the press. 

Campbell: if you'd asked me in '94 if I thought Sun would back us in '97 I'd have said no.
Campbell: there's no point pretending Rupert Murdoch isn't an important figure in the media landscape
 Campbell: We turned Today from right-of-centre to left-of-centre and I don't recall Murdoch interfering at any time

Campbell accepts Jay suggestion that there was a "distaste" at times dealings with Murdoch
Campbell: never in doubt visit to island off Australia to talk to News Corp execs was a good thing to do
Campbell says he doesn't remember Murdoch interfering with Today paper; says Maxwell had fairly interfering approach
Campbell: don't buy perceived power of papers to win elections, Cameron had backing & didn't win majority

Guardian Live Blog:
Jay reads out former Australian prime minister Paul Keating's reported advice to Blair on dealing with Murdoch:
He's a big bad bastard, and the only way you can deal with him is to make sure he thinks you can be a big bad bastard too. You can do deals with him, without ever saying a deal is done. But the only thing he cares about is his business and the only language he respects is strength.
Campbell repeats that no deal was done, adding there are lots of areas of media policy where one would struggle to say the Murdochs got a good deal out of the Labour government.
He says:
I was never witness to a discussion where he [Rupert] said, 'Tony, if you do this and this and this, we'll back you'. It just never happened. 
AC: We made an active choice to change approach to Murdoch papers, part of New Labour strategy.
AC: Don't remember Murdoch interferring with Today on any level.
Campbell agrees Rupert Murdoch likes to back winners but is "fundamentally right wing on most issues".
AC: I don’t like the word "woo", but Murdoch was certainly the most important media player without a doubt.
AC: I don’t think there ever was such a deal [between Murdoch and Blair]. Absolutely no evidence.
AC: Newspapers overstate their own importance and I think politicians overstate it as well in terms of election endorsements.
Campbell on Murdoch: He needs to know that you can be as tough as you need to be.
Campbell: in opposition, getting your message across to the public is hard if you don't have access to the press
Campbell: don't think there ever was (express deal between News Corp & Blair)
Campbell: lots of areas where you'd be hard pressed to say Murdoch businesses were getting good deal out of Lab govt
 Campbell: there wasn't some sort of conspiracy in dropping of planned cross media ownership rules

AC: Never witness to and don’t believe there was ever discussion where Murdoch said would support Blair if he did certain things.
Campbell says he never witnessed Murdoch telling Blair he would back him if he did certain things

From Guardian Live Blog:
Jay asks Campbell about an "implied trade-off" between Labour and Murdoch, as suggested by former special adviser Lance Price.
Campbell denies Blair's thinking on cross-media ownership policies was influenced by Murdoch.
Jay moves on to Sun 1997 article by Blair on Euro. AC: I don't think on policy anything traded with Murdoch or other media owner.
Campbell: on policy don't think anything was ever traded with Murdoch or any other media owner
Some background on Campbell Prodi story

Guardian Live Blog:
Campbell repeats that there was no deal between Labour and News International.Jay cites a half-page article the Sun offered Blair during the 1997 election that was headlined "Why I love the pound", when Labour's policy was to join the euro. Campbell admits that he felt "a little bit queasy" about the headline, but insists that the article was merely repeating existing Labour policy on Europe 
AC statement:Gove speech on chilling effect of inquiry may be part of political strategy to ensure Tories don't lose media support.
AC: Thinking of PM and some colleagues was that to take on the whole of the press at the time was politically not sensible.

Guardian Live Blog:
Campbell is asked about the row in 1998 over Tony Blair being accused of intervening on behalf of Rupert Murdoch to help him buy the Italian TV firm, Mediaset.
He maintains that this was not an intervention, despite Murdoch saying in an interview he had asked Blair to contact the Italian prime minister about the planned deal.
AC: I don't think Cameron wants to have to deal with this, don’t think he wanted to set up the inquiry. He had to do it in the end.
Campbell: some appetite for change but wdn't overstate it; don't think Cameron wants to deal with this
Campbell: wld be v. difficult not to go along w/ recommendations Inquiry produces but don't think there's much appetite for change
AC: Remember Tessa Jowell very clear she wasn't inheriting any implied or unimplied details with anyone in the media.
AC: I didn’t see myself as a significant voice within the media policy debate.

Methinks what a striking difference between campbell's utter confidence and memory to Andy coulson's confidence and lack of memory
AC: Murdoch and Blair rarely spoke on the phone, though as has been reported Murdoch did speak to him in run up to Iraq war.
AC: Iraq most difficult decision Blair ever made, speaking to presidents + PMs all over world. Wouldn't overstate Murdoch calls.
AC: According to Cabinet Office 2002 - 2005 Blair spoke to Murdoch 6 times on the telephone. 3 calls were during this period. 

Campbell: 1 of things that makes R Murdoch different is that he's a news man, interested in what's going on in the world
Campbell: was surprised at how few phone calls there had been when Cabinet office produced this doc (on Blair-Murdoch phone calls)

Campbell: surprised how few Blair calls there were with Murdoch

3:15 p.m. Break.

Campbell's lack of memory about that Blair call to Murdoch a bit odd. events that led up to iraq war shd be seared in memory
Campbell says Murdoch would enter Downing Street by the back door because as far as the media was concerned he was 'uniquely neuralgic'
Campbell says he attended the reception for Rebekah Brooks' first wedding and was at her 2nd wedding

AC: Hope what comes out is not just greater transparency but also a greater distancing between the two sets of people.
AC: I liked Rebekah Brooks, but I think friendship overstates it…I liked her and obviously because of our jobs, we spoke a lot.
AC: Think it's difficult to develop friendships with people from any walk of life where they feel they can get something from you.
Campbell: most of the friends I have who are journalists are those I used to work with when I was a journo 
Campbell: I liked Rebekah Brooks but I think "friendship" overstates it.
Campbell says some weeks he'd speak to R Brooks every day, other weeks not at all. Depended on what was in news
Campbell: on average spoke to Brooks once or twice a week 

Campbell: attended reception for 1st Brooks wedding, and wedding itself 2nd time; spoke on average once or twice a week 
Campbell says the fractious relationship between Blair and Brown was a particularly difficult part of his job
Asked if Ministers were afraid of Rebekah Brooks, Campbell says I don't think so and if they were, they shouldn't have been
AC: Most influential person in terms of influence on Murdoch was Murdoch. Was she increasingly important within organisation? Yes.
Campbell: if ministers were afraid of Rebekah Brooks they shouldn’t have been. Says she was v straightforward to deal with
Jay: was Sun ever fed stories by you? Campbell: Yeah, so were the other papers
Campbell: every single paper thought we favoured other papers; you couldn't win really
Campbell: I'm somewhat PNG (persona non grata) at NI now but Rebekah was always v straightforward to deal with
AC: Piers Morgan was often angry, thought we favoured the Sun. It was up and down but pretty good relationship.
AC statement: Sun editor with whom had the most frequent contact Stuart Higgins. Only met Rothermere once and Desmond occasionally.  

Campbell: issues over spin are overdone. Journalists aren’t stupid and the public aren’t stupid

Campbell: businesses owning media does give them disproportionate access (although that's not same as power)
Campbell: political class, police & other parts of national life don't treat (press) in same way as other orgs and people
Campbell on press: they expect openness and transparency from every other part of national life apart from themselves

From Guardian Live Blog:
Jay asks if Rebekah Brooks amplified the fractious relationship between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.
Campbell says not, but that Brown's people might have said things to her that they would not have said to Blair's people.
Jay asks if Campbell ever fed stories to the Sun.
"Yeah, so were other papers," he says. Every newspaper felt rivals were better treated by the Labour government, he adds.
Campbell: some of smallest circulation papers are among the most influential. 
Campbell: Editors also make huge assumptions about readers, see them as homogeneous block 
Campbell: I don't think newspapers have power. I think politicians have real power

AC: I think newspaper editors make huge assumptions about their readers and describe them almost as a homogenous block.
AC: Newspaper make decisions and through their coverage they try to lead their readers in the same direction.
AC: If you analyse power and influence year by year, Murdoch's been a big player for a long time. 

Campbell says press want openness and transparency from all parts of national life, except themselves
Leveson making a fundamental point here; newspapers owners can easily outlast generations politicians. Their influence lasts.
Fascinating, Pres George Bush once asked Campbell and Blair - "What's Rupert Murdoch like, I've never met him".

AC: If we just see this as a problem of government comms, we won't get anywhere. Media have to take some responsibility.
AC: Was I robust? Yes. Would I rebut and refute? Yes. But this bullying thing is just nonsense. 
AC: Were there journalists for whom I had complete + total contempt? Yes,there were. But did I ever kick them out of briefings? No.
AC: I dealt with thousands of stories + would defend the accuracy and honesty of those against any journalist any day of the week. 

Campbell: I don't make apologies for the changes we made in opposition because they helped us to win 
Campbell: everyone thought I was favouring someone else.
Campbell: One of best examples of spin is extent to which issue of spin became so central to debate  

Campbell: at times we were too controlling, at times we did hang onto techniques of opposition 
Did Campbell ridicule George Jones (a #leveson assessor )? I don't think so
Campbell liked some journos, had complete and utter contempt for others, he said 
Campbell: Shocked to read there some bits in Andrew Marr's book which are nice about AC 

Campbell: At times we were too controlling and sometimes adopted tactics of opposition when we should have dumped them at the door of No10
AC: There's the window to get to a much much better position, but going to require change from the politicians and the media. 
AC: Wasn't denying Blair/Brown conflict to media but I chose my words very carefully in how I dealt with it.
AC: I believe Cameron, Clegg and Miliband all getting disproportionately whacked right now because of their stance on the media.
AC: Jonathan Powell and I knew at all time we were representing the Prime Minister, Spads are a very personal appointment.
Campbell: politicians judging their success and failure depending on sort of press they're getting 
Campbell: politicians judging their success and failure depending on sort of press they're getting 
Campbell says he believes some of negative coverage Cameron is getting in press is revenge for having set up #Leveson Inquiry
Campbell: Cameron, Clegg and Miliband are all getting disproportionately whacked right now b/c of their stance on the media

Campbell says he believes Rupert Murdoch's support for Alex Salmond is partly revenge for Cameron setting up
Inquiry shown letters between Campbell and Peter Wright over story on Blair attending QM lying in state. 
AC: PCC said not in a position where they could adjudicate on fact. We dropped it but story was untrue then and is untrue now.
'Black Rod' story an irritating recurring theme from media and a Core Participant!

AC: At no point did I tell anyone the 2001 election date until the Prime Minister had announced it.
AC: Whichever body replaces the PCC should investigate trends as well as individual complaints.
AC: An outside body can help to bring the sort of transparency which media will never shine on themselves.
AC: I think Hacked Off, Media Standards Trust + Full Fact are representing genuine public concern about what media has become. 

. @campbellclaret tells #leveson that Black Rod, Sir Michael Willcocks, took role on PCC after retirement. True:

Campbell: I never told (journalists) lies but I sometimes didn't tell them everything that I knew 
Campbell tells #leveson I never told them (journalists) lies, but sometimes didn't tell them all I knew
Campbell: as a result of this Inquiry, public has seen and now knows about things it did not know before
Campbell says Hacked Off, Media Standards Trust and Full Fact represent genuine public concern about what the media has become
Campbell: we're going to have to have a redefinition of what a journalist is

AC: Newspapers have to take strong positions but should be ability for people and organisations to come back against them.
AC: If you get regulatory framework right for print journalism, will have profound effect on internet development.
AC: Guys from BBC, ITV, Sky covering this are not in court, they're outside because they want to tweet - that's part of journalism.
AC: Press who fear most what you may conclude hoping you and politicians say "too complicated, we can't do anything".
AC: The fundamental weakness of the PCC is it's a self-regulating body run by those it regulates. 

Campbell: Guys from ITV and BBC and Sky aren't in here, why not because they want to tweet
(not quite, #Leveson lets us tweet but doesn't let us leave room mid witness - understandably - and we need to get to live points)

Alastair Campbell: press inquiry will end up with a "redefinition of what a journalist is" viz tweeting, blogging, broadcasting

Guardian Live Blog:
Campbell says he fears that many politicians, including Michael Gove, hope the Leveson inquiry will go away.
Alastaiar Campbell's evidence now complete.