04/05/2012 07:11 BST | Updated 04/05/2012 07:12 BST

Leveson Inquiry: Government Asks For Core Participant Status

The Government has applied to be awarded "core participant" status in the Leveson Inquiry ahead of key appearances next week.

If they are granted the status, the Government will be given the right to see Leveson Inquiry documents and witness statements in advance.

The inquiry, headed by Lord Justice Leveson will hear an application at 2pm on Friday afternoon for the Government to be named as a "core participant", 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 would 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.