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Leveson Inquiry: Government Ministers To Become 'Core Participants'

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LORD LEVESON
Lord Justice Leveson has granted the government "core participant" status | PA

Eight government ministers including David Cameron will be awarded "core participant" status in the Leveson Inquiry ahead of key appearances next week.

Leveson accepted David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Ken Clarke, Theresa May and George Osborne could get advance access to evidence, but stressed the need for confidentiality, saying: "Core participant status is not intended to give an advantage to core participants… It is not intended to represent a trap for unsighted witnesses who are not core participants."

The Government will now be given the right to see Leveson Inquiry documents and witness statements in advance.

The inquiry, headed by Lord Justice Leveson heard an application at 2pm on Friday afternoon for the government to be named as a "core participant" – for those who have a significant interest in the hearings or may face criticism.

The move comes ahead of evidence next week from former News International executives Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, which could embarrass Prime Minister David Cameron.

Core participant status will also give the government the right to put questions to other witnesses through its lawyers.

Existing core participants for the inquiry's third module, looking at relations between the press and politicians, include Mrs Brooks, national newspaper groups and a number of current and former MPs.

News International boss Rupert Murdoch and its former chief executive, Murdoch's son James, are the most recent high-profile witnesses at the inquiry, which is looking into the standards of the press.

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