Gordon Brown, Sir John Major, Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman, Alex Salmond, Nick Clegg, George Osborne and David Cameron will appear before the Leveson Inquiry next week, for what will be the inquiry’s last week of evidence.
All eyes, of course, will be on Cameron, who is due to appear on Thursday. He will be embarrassed once again by his past proximity to disgraced News International executives, and his handling of the News Corp BskyB takeover. He previewed his likely answers on BSkyB in an interview with Andrew Marr last week. He said that his intention was for Vince Cable to marshal the bid, but that was scuppered by Cable’s preposterous comments about ‘declaring war’ on the Murdochs, made to Telegraph journalists posing as concerned floozies. Thereafter, Cameron said, Jeremy Hunt was tasked with the job and he acquitted himself appropriately once installed. This last line of argument was used by Hunt last week, and it withstood determined questioning from Robert Jay.
Meanwhile, several Labour MPs are jostling for a piece of George Osborne’s pelt, which has lost its glossy sheen in recent weeks. The chancellor was implicated in the BSkyB process by Hunt last week; although, on the face of it, there is nothing particularly surprising about that given Osborne’s role as the Tories’ chief strategist. Osborne will appear on Monday after Gordon Brown, who, one imagines, will have a thing or two to say about Rupert Murdoch, and perhaps even Tony Blair. What good sport that promises to be.
PS: James tweets that George Osborne has known he would appear before the inquiry since May 14th, which means that last week’s revelations did not trigger the summons. However, it is very likely that Osborne will be asked about them.