David Cameron Defends Accuracy Of Murdoch List

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Downing Street has defended the accuracy of a list showing meetings between the PM and Murdoch | PA

Downing Street has defended the accuracy of its record of David Cameron's meetings with News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch after it was called into question by evidence given to the Leveson Inquiry into media standards yesterday.

Labour MP Chris Bryant told the House of Commons yesterday that a list of meetings submitted by Mr Murdoch suggested that the pair had met more often than was admitted by Downing Street.

However, Lord Justice Leveson this morning indicated that the list, which has not yet been published, may be revised by lawyers before being released to the public.

And he issued a warning against leaks by "core participants" in the inquiry, such as Mr Bryant, who have advance access to documents and witness statements via a secure computer system called Lextranet.

Raising a point of order in the Commons yesterday, the MP said: "Rupert Murdoch - this has been published by the Leveson Inquiry - made it clear that there were meetings with the Prime Minister on May 18, May 25, July 21, another on July 21 and July 22."

He said that this appeared to contradict the list of the PM's meetings with press proprietors, editors and senior media executives released by Downing Street, which recorded only one meeting with Murdoch between May 2010, when he took office, and July 2011.

Cameron's official spokesman this morning told reporters: "We are confident that the list we published was correct.
"As I understand it, there is some revised evidence being presented to the inquiry this morning detailing meetings. I haven't seen that because it hasn't been published.

"Our list is based on our diary records and we believe those diary records are comprehensive."

The spokesman declined to give an official definition of the kind of encounter which was recorded on the list as a "meeting", but said that it would not include every person who the PM exchanged words with at a large event.
"We have been very clear that we don't declare everyone who is at an event that the PM is at," he said.

In a statement as the inquiry opened this morning, Lord Justice Leveson said: "Core participant status is not intended to provide an advantage to core participants and so permit them to publish material before it is available for publication by those who are not core participants."

He added: "For the avoidance of doubt, nobody should be publishing anything using the material from Lextranet which is intended to be only to provide core participants with forewarning of statements and exhibits.

"Everyone must understand that it is only the redacted statements or exhibits that can ever be published or referred to."

Lord Justice Leveson said he has redrafted his order banning publication of material before it is posted on the inquiry's website to make it clearer.

"The new order will be placed on the website immediately and I will treat any breach of it as a matter of real significance," he said.