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Gordon Brown first of all-star cast at Leveson Inquiry

Gordon Brown is first up at the Leveson Inquiry on Monday morning. Photo: PA

When he appears in from of Lord Justice Leveson this morning, Gordon Brown will become the first of a star cast of politicians to sit in the witness box this week.

He is among two former Prime Ministers, the current Chancellor, the Deputy Prime Minister, the First Minister of Scotland and the leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party who have been summoned to appear at the Royal Courts of Justice.

The Prime Minister will take his seat in the witness box on Thursday. A whole day has been set aside to hear David Cameron’s evidence.

Today, Mr Brown will be answering questions about his relationship with the Murdochs during his time as Chancellor of the Exchequer and then Prime Minister.

Last month Rebekah Brooks, right, described an "extraordinarily aggressive" conversation with Gordon Brown, left. Credit: PA

He is expected to deny allegations made by Rupert Murdoch when he gave evidence, that the Labour Prime Minister was in "an unbalanced state of mind" when the pair spoke on the telephone after the Sun had announced it was switching support from Labour to the Conservatives in 2009.

Mr Brown will be followed this afternoon by one of his successors as Chancellor, George Osborne. He was only expecting to give written evidence to this inquiry.

But he's been summoned after it became clear he was closely involved in the decision to hire Andy Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World, as David Cameron's chief spin doctor.

Osborne, right, will face questions over his role in the hiring of Andy Coulson, centre. Credit: PA

It was also revealed at the Leveson Inquiry that the Chancellor was involved in the decision to hand responsibility for overseeing the proposed takeover of BSkyB by News Corporation to the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in 2010.

The government was forced to find an alternative department after the Business Secretary Vince Cable had been recorded by undercover reporters saying he was "declaring war" on the Murdochs.

As the decision was made at the highest level to give the takeover bid to Mr Hunt, George Osborne sent the Culture Secretary a text message saying "I hope you like the solution."

Sir John Major will appear tomorrow and will throw light on his relationship with the press during the turbulent years of his premiership from 1990 to 1997 including the moment when the former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie claims he told the Prime Minister, "I've got a bucket of s### on my desk, prime minister and I'm going to pour it all over you."

Labour leader Ed Miliband and his deputy Harriet Harman will also give evidence on Tuesday.

Wednesday will be the turn of Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond.

And at 10am on Thursday, the Prime Minister will face a challenging 7 hours answering questions.

What will he say about giving Jeremy Hunt the News Corp takeover even though he had written some very positive memos about the proposed deal? How will he justify hiring Andy Coulson? Will he tell us if he ever asked Mr Coulson, eyeball to eyeball, if he knew about phone hacking at the News of the World? What too will he say about riding horses with the former News International boss Rebekah Brooks? And will he be forced to explain why he signed off "LOL" in text messages to Mrs Brooks (a phrase she claimed he thought was short for "lots of love" rather than "laugh out loud")

It is quite something when a Prime Minister is having to spend so many hours on Thursday talking about the relationship between politicians and the press at a time when the Euro is in meltdown, the UK economy is flatlining and he has the G20 summit to prepare for next week.

All things considered, however, it should be a fascinating week.

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