Leveson: Cameron and Hunt given core participant status

Prime Minister David Cameron and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt were today given the right to see Leveson Inquiry documents and witness statements in advance.

Eight cabinet ministers were named as “core participants” – people who have a significant interest in the hearings or may face criticism.

The move came ahead of potentially explosive testimony next week from former News International executives Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson.

Lord Justice Leveson also gave core participant status to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Business Secretary Vince Cable, Education Secretary Michael Gove, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, Home Secretary Theresa May and Chancellor George Osborne.

All of the Ministers apart from Osborne will give evidence in person over the coming weeks.

The core participant application was initially made on behalf of the Government.

But Lord Justice Leveson rejected this on legal grounds, observing that under Britain’s unwritten constitution the Government has “no independent existence in law”.

He agreed that the individual ministers could seek the status, noting that they are not seeking the right of core participants to question other witnesses or make opening and closing submissions.

James Eadie QC, representing the Government, said the Ministers had a “clear public interest” in the inquiry’s proceedings because they will be responsible for acting on Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations.

He said: “The important thing is that those who need to have advance sight of relevant material, have advance sight of relevant material.”

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