Adam Smith, Frederic Michel, Peter Mandelson, Jeremy Paxman And Tom Watson All Due At Leveson

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: Updated: 18/05/2012 12:39

Adam Smith, Jeremy Hunt's former special adviser who was forced to quit after admitting he had inappropriate contact with News International, will give evidence to the Leveson inquiry on Friday 25 May.

Smith will appear on the same day as Frederic Michel, News Corporation's chief lobbyist, who is at the centre of the row over whether Hunt's office gave Rupert Murdoch's company privileged information about its bid to take over BSkyB in 2010.

Also due to appear next week are senior Labour politicians including Peter Mandelson and Tessa Jowell as well as journalists including Jeremy Paxman and Andrew Marr.

The appearance of Smith could be damaging for Hunt - who has always claimed that improper communications between his office and Michel were the actions of his special adviser and not him.

Smith resigned last month after emails provided by James Murdoch to Leveson suggested that he had offered "illegal" advice to News Corporation during its mounting of a takeover bid for BSkyB.

Labour continues to insist that Hunt broke the ministerial code for failing to supervise his political staff.

As a relatively young former special adviser, Smith won't be used to the kind of cross-examination under oath that appearing before Leveson involves. He can expect to be asked whether Hunt was aware of his communications with Michel and the nature of those exchanges.

He will also be asked to comment on claims made by Rebekah Brooks last Friday before Leveson; the former Chief Executive of News International claimed Hunt's office "sought guidance" from the company at the height of the phone-hacking scandal last July - the event which triggered, among other things, the collapse of Rupert Murdoch's bid for BSkyB.

Hunt is also due to appear before the inquiry at the end of this month, with the spectre of being sacked from government hanging over him, depending on what is revealed during his hearing.

Next week also sees a raft of other high profile politicians and journalists called to give evidence to the inquiry into press ethics.

On Monday former business secretary Lord Mandelson will appear, as will the former Labour culture secretary Tessa Jowell.

On Tuesday the former Labour home secretary Alan Johnson will appear along with another former Labour culture secretary Lord Chris Smith and Labour MP and high profile Murdoch critic Tom Watson.

Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman will give evidence on Wednesday along with fellow BBC political journalist Andrew Marr.

They will be joined by Lord Reid and former Tory health secretary and current chair of the health select committee Stephen Dorrell.

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  • Tessa Jowell

    Monday will see Labour Politician, Tessa Jowell, who was one of the original hacking victims but has faced accusations that she failed to assist the hacking investigation.

  • Lord Mandelson

    Former Labour Cabinet minister, Lord Mandelson, is also up on the Monday.

  • Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson will kick off Tuesday's hearing. The inquiry has previously heard that Johnson turned down a calls for in independent probe into hacking when he was home secretary in 2009.

  • Lord Smith

    Former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Lord Smith, is also up on Tuesday.

  • Tom Watson

    More used to asking the questions, Labour MP Tom Watson will present evidence on Tuesday.

  • Stephen Dorrell

    Conservative MP Stephen Dorrell appears on Wednesday.

  • Andrew Marr

    Journalist and broadcaster Andrew Marr appear on Wednesday. <a href="" target="_hplink">He recently interviewed Jeremy Hunt about a 'post-Leveson era.'</a>

  • Jeremy Paxman

    Paxman, the BBC's ever-feared interrogator, will find the roles reversed on Wednesday.

  • Lord Reid

    Former Defence, and Home Secretary, Lord Reid, will close proceedings on Wednesday.

  • Adam Smith

    Smith, who recently resigned as adviser to Jeremy Hunt, will appear on Thursday.

  • Frederic Michel

    The News Corporation lobbyist is accused of having an overly close relationship to Jeremy Hunt when the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport was considering News Corps bid for BSkyB.