Leveson 'not seeking to challenge' Parliament

Lord Leveson says he is not "in any way" trying to challenge the right of parliament to examine the issues his inquiry is covering

Lord Justice Leveson defended his inquiry into media standards today in and said he "was not in any way" seeking to challenge the right of Parliament to examine any of the issues his inquiry is covering.

After repeated criticism that the work of MPs is being blocked because of the inquiry into press standards he insisted it was for Parliament to decide "how far it goes" and his job to continue to "illuminate the issues"

His comments come after Speaker John Bercow said yesterday that Parliament should come first when a number of MPs raised concerns that Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was being shielded from full scrutiny over his links with News International because of his impending appearance before the inquiry.

Lord Justice Leveson said it was up to Parliament to decide "how far it is appropriate to question the Secretary of State or anyone else" over any revelations his inquiry has revealed, and invited David Cameron to take "whatever steps he wishes."

He said he expected to hear evidence from Fred Michel, News Corporation public affairs executive, and Adam Smith, Mr Hunt's former special adviser by the end of May.

Mr Smith quit after emails were released by the inquiry that suggested he had given key information about the Government's plans on the controversial BSkyB deal.

He insisted that the timing of the appearances of witnesses, including Mr Hunt, before his inquiry was carefully planned out.

However, he did warn that he may drop his plan to take evidence from the two men if Parliament published or released evidence from them first.

Lord Justice Leveson insisted he was "politically neutral" but said he could see the "political significance" of recent events.

Labour MP Harriet Harmon welcomed his comments saying: