4 May 2012

Government applies for advance access to Leveson written inquiry evidence

David Cameron, Andy Coulson, Rebekah Brooks

Watch the Government's application for Core Participant Status at the Leveson Inquiry HERE  (recording will be posted on the Inquiry site within due course)

Headline in Guardian - 11:26 a.m.:

  Government applies for advance access to Leveson written inquiry evidence

 ( Article HERE )

And from the Leveson Inquiry Website:
4 May 2012: The inquiry will sit at 2pm this afternoon to hear an application for core participant status on behalf of the Government
Lord Justice Leveson speaking to Mr Eadie who is acting for the Government
Mr Eadie speaking on behalf of the Government
Leveson says he understands reason for application by coalition govt, but unsure , how it brings govt within legislation
Govt's QC says application made on a twin basis > 
1) key theme of inquiry = impact press has had on public, police & politicians, so fair & proper that politicians shld have access
2) govt as a group also have a clear public interest in proceedings because are responsible for policy matters
Leveson: inquiry high profile and there's need for speed so there may be some value in the gvt being prepared to share policy objectives
Leveson would accept a minister wouldn't breach an undertaking (not to disclose inwuiry evidence) but asks if Mr Eadie accepts his concerns
Leveson: as a matter of pure law can you advance an argument that a govt falls within the definition of a person?
Leveson: I have been very impressed by arrangement put into place to ensure ministers and other I've asked evidence, do so independently
Applying are Cameron, Clegg, Cable, Hunt. Also Gove, Ken Clarke, Theresa May and Osborne

Last-minute shift of focus from government to individuals suggests frantic concern behind today's Leveson application.

Cameron and Hunt have already submitted witness statements. Osborne only other minister invited to submit witness statement

leveson says Jeremy Hunt was disadvantaged because he wasn't a core participant when James murdoch released emails
If Leveson grants govt mins core part. status they can see Coulson and Brooks witness statements in advance of nxt wk appearances.

Leveson Inquiry grants core participant status to PM & 7 most serious ministers ahead of evidence from Andy Coulson & Rebekah Brooks

Leveson requested apps for CPs for module 3 some considerable time ago. This application is therefore late [still prepared to address it]
Leveson reason for Eadie's gvt application is so core participants can see evidence in advance under a strict rule of confidentiality
Leveson matter of fairness to witnesses that they are able to see evidence beforehand and prepare to deal with it
Leveson it's been generally possible to arrange for a witness to provide a late statement if they've
 complained about another witness' stmt
Leveson noted that articles quoting parts of the emails and passing comments on the content of Hunt's office/Michel emails publishd quickly
Leveson obviously unrealistic to expect political and press reaction not to be immediate
Leveson it has happened that a CP who is a politician used material, later corrected, to challenge the PM in Parliament [Chris Bryant] 
Leveson turns down application by Government to become a core participant in his inquiry. Now talking about aplication by individuals
Leveson they will be known as government core participants

@DrEvan Harris:

Leveson just said that Fred Michel made clear in disclosure that contact was always with adviser, but he actually says "not always w/ Hunt"
Unless leaks stop, he will restrict issuance of statements in advance. Eg can only read them in the Leveson offices.