An urgent application was made today to Lord Justice Leveson by James Eadie QC for the Coalition Government to apply for Core Participant Status for the Government and/or individual Ministers who are giving evidence before the Leveson Inquiry.
Lord Justice Leveson rejected the application by the Government itself but he granted Core Participant status to the following Ministers; the Prime Minister, David Cameron, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, the Minister for Culture Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt, the Justice Minister, Kenneth Clarke, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, the Secretary of States for Education, Michael Gove, and for Business Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable. They will be collectively known as “Government Core Participants”.
They will have to sign confidentiality agreements before being given access to witness statements and Lord Justice Leveson indicated that further restrictions might be placed on advance access to witness statements.
[Update] A copy of the ruling is now available [pdf] on the Leveson Inquiry website. He concludes
“in the normal course of events, it is usual for ministers to await the recommendations of an inquiry such as this and then to determine the appropriate policy to pursue.I am prepared to recognise that the profile of this Inquiry and the time frame within which it and any subsequent policy decisions have to be considered and to operate might be such that there would be value in expressing policy objectives rather more fully than would usually be the case. That would entirely properly provide me with some of the insight which they bring to the issues and could assist my consideration of the recommendations I shall make. … In the circumstances, I am entirely content that the application falls within Rule 5 which, in any event, does not provide an exhaustive list of the relevant considerations and which it seems to me can also encompass the other features to which I have referred“.