David Cameron will attend the Leveson Inquiry into press standards if summoned to give evidence, Downing Street has said.
Responding to reports that Lord Justice Leveson is “99.9 per cent” certain to call Cameron for questioning under oath about his dealings with senior media executives and press baron Rupert Murdoch, a Number 10 spokeswoman said last night: “A request has not yet been received. If asked, the Prime Minister would of course attend.”
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Former PM Gordon Brown and Labour’s current leader Ed Miliband are also expected to appear when the inquiry focuses on relations between the media and politicians, The Times said.
A Leveson Inquiry source told The Times that the final decision on which politicians to invite had not yet been made but added: “I can’t see how you can look at the relationship between the press and politicians without talking to top politicians, including the Prime Minister, the previous prime minister and the Leader of the Opposition.”
The newspaper suggests Cameron is likely to be called after the local elections in May.
It is expected questioning will focus on his decision to employ Andy Coulson, the former editor of the defunct News of the World, who quit as Downing Street’s director of communications amid continued pressure about phone hacking.
The inquiry has heard from executives and senior reporters at The Sun, Britain’s top-selling daily newspaper.
Editor Dominic Mohan said the paper could be a “powerful force for good” through its campaigns, support for charities and ability to explain complicated stories in a clear way.
Prime Minister David Cameron set up the inquiry last July in response to revelations that the NotW commissioned a private detective to hack murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone after she disappeared in 2002.
The first part of the inquiry, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, is looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the press in general and is due to produce a report by September.
It began taking evidence in November, and has heard a series of complaints about media intrusion from celebrities and the families of murdered and abducted children.
The inquiry’s second part, examining the extent of unlawful activities by journalists, will not begin until detectives have completed their investigation into alleged phone hacking and corrupt payments to police, and any prosecutions have been concluded.