Leveson's anger at Minister

Lord Justice Leveson, who is leading the investigation into media ethics in the wake of the phone hacking scandal, demanded that Education Secretary Michael Gove be 'gagged' after comments he made appeared to undermine the inquiry.

Lord Leveson to give public reaction to reports that he nearly quit inquiry

The Mail on Sunday said Lord Leveson (left) was close to quitting after comments from Michael Gove (right). Credit: PA

The judge leading the investigation into media ethics will give his public reaction next week to a newspaper report that a minister's intervention nearly made him quit.

Lord Justice Leveson was sufficiently concerned about the Mail on Sunday article that he considered convening a special hearing of the inquiry, which is not sitting next week.

That move was dropped following consideration of the cost of an emergency recall to taxpayers and other participants, a spokesman indicated.

Mr Gove, a former journalist, told a Parliamentary Press Gallery lunch in February that he saw "dangers" in the inquiry into press cultures, practices and ethics.

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Leveson complained about Gove's remarks, reports the Mail on Sunday

Sir Jeremy Heywood is reported to have told Prime Minister David Cameron about the conversation.

"Our clear impression was that he was spitting tacks with Gove and was ready to resign unless the Minister was told to shut up," a Government source told the newspaper.

Mr Gove, a former journalist at the News Corporation-owned Times, told a Parliamentary Press Gallery lunch in February that he saw "dangers" in the inquiry into press cultures, practices and ethics.

Lord Justice Leveson instructed his officials to compile a full report of the comments and he phoned Sir Jeremy within 24 hours, it was reported.

Leveson 'quit threat' over Gove claim

The Mail on Sunday reports Lord Justice Leveson complained to Downing Street over claims made by Michael Gove.
The Mail on Sunday reports Lord Justice Leveson complained to Downing Street over claims made by Michael Gove. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Mail on Sunday reports that the judge leading the investigation into media ethics in the wake of the phone hacking scandal was poised to quit following a public attack on the probe by the Education Secretary.

Lord Justice Leveson complained to Downing Street's most powerful civil servant about claims made by Michael Gove that the inquiry had created a 'chilling atmosphere' towards freedom of Press, according to the Mail on Sunday.

In a telephone call with Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood he called for the Tory to be "gagged" and warned the inquiry was being undermined, it said.