George Osborne and Michael Gove are two of the Cabinet ministers closest to the Prime Minister. In their appearances before the Leveson Inquiry, they have both made clear that they are not interested in some giant new regulatory system for the press. Indeed, the vigour with which Gove made this argument rather got under the judge’s skin, while Osborne openly mocked the kite-mark system that Leveson is so interested in. The implicit message to Leveson was: propose something too big and you might as well post your final report to the Long Grass at the back of Downing Street.
Now, both Osborne and Gove are to the right of the Prime Minister politically, and both are less inclined to seek consensus than the PM. But all the signs are that David Cameron intends to offer his own version of this message to the inquiry tomorrow.
For the inquiry’s part, the question is how to treat Cameron as a witness. So far, Robert Jay QC has treated some politicians with a certain amount of deference while subjecting others, notably Jeremy Hunt, to far more of a classic, confrontational cross examination.
It is, though, worth remembering that Cameron has, like Blair, already conceded that he got too close to press proprietors. This should take some of the sting out of the question of what first attracted Cameron to these people who control a media empire. Then, there is the decision to hire Andy Coulson after he had resigned from The News of the World. This could be the most difficult area for the Prime Minister but I suspect that, for obvious reasons, there’ll be limits to how far the questioning can go here.Tags: David Cameron, Leveson inquiry, Tony Blair