Cameron and other Ministers to see Leveson Inquiry papers in advance

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Prime Minister David Cameron and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday won 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 Mr Osborne will give evidence in person over the coming weeks.

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

Lord Justice Leveson rejected this on legal grounds, observing that the Government has “no independent existence in law”.

He agreed that the individual Ministers could seek the status.

James Eadie QC, for the Government, said the Ministers had a “clear public interest” in the 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.” All but one of the Ministers have already submitted written witness statements to the inquiry, the hearing was told.

Lord Justice Leveson insisted that all the Ministers and their advisers must sign a pledge not to leak any of the advance material.