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Leveson probe 'sham': George Michael

Date
George Michael ... asked to appear at the Leveson Inquiry.

George Michael ... asked to appear at the Leveson Inquiry. Photo: Reuters

Singer George Michael claims he was asked to speak to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards but declined, dismissing it as a sham.

As part of a series of tweets posted on Twitter, the star said: "I was asked to talk to the Leveson inquiry, but I declined. It's all bulls**t.

I was asked to talk to the Leveson inquiry, but I declined. It's all bullst. (sic) 

"It has been several years since two hacking journalists were sent to prison for bugging the royal family. They remain the only people who have been tried in the criminal courts.

"After all these years, and all the crimes committed by journos, editors, the police force and MPs the best can do is 'enquiry' after inquiry, and no actual criminal prosecutions?

"Why on earth are the rights of the royal family more important than those of Milly Dowler's parents, or of any of the hundreds of people whose lives have been violated by the press?

"Shame on our political system for it's refusal to take this further. The day they make this sham real and start genuinely prosecuting people I would more than happy to help. :)....till then, what's the point."

During the 15-tweet rant Michael also attacked the Daily Mail, as well as calling Prime Minister David Cameron the "most cowardly PM we've seen for decades".

But a spokesman for the Leveson Inquiry today said George Michael had never been asked to give evidence.

The star's comments come just days before former News International executive Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson are expected to make embarrassing revelations about British politicians' attempts to woo Rupert Murdoch's newspapers.

Mr Coulson, David Cameron's former communications director, will appear before the inquiry on Thursday followed by Mrs Brooks on Friday, and their potentially explosive evidence could overshadow David Cameron's efforts to relaunch the coalition's program after bruising local election results for the Conservatives and Lib Dems.

Mrs Brooks is likely to disclose further details about her close relationship with the Prime Minister, while Mr Coulson will speak about how he came to be appointed the Tories' top spin doctor.

Eight Cabinet Ministers - including Mr Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt - were last week given the right to see Leveson Inquiry documents and witness statements in advance.

Lord Justice Leveson agreed to make them "core participants", people who have a significant interest in the hearings or may face criticism.

Mr Coulson's appearance will revive awkward questions about the Prime Minister's decision to make the former News of the World editor his communications director.

Mr Cameron said last July that "with 20:20 hindsight" he would not have hired Mr Coulson in May 2007, four months after he resigned from the Sunday tabloid over the jailing of royal reporter Clive Goodman for phone hacking.

Mr Coulson, 44, became Downing Street's communications chief in May 2010 but quit eight months later, saying controversy over the hacking scandal was making his job impossible.

His Leveson Inquiry evidence will be the first time he has spoken publicly since being arrested by Scotland Yard on suspicion of phone hacking and corruption last July. He was bailed and has not been charged.

Mrs Brooks, 43, edited the News of the World and The Sun before becoming chief executive of Mr Murdoch's UK newspapers division News International in September 2009.

She and racehorse trainer husband Charlie are key members of the influential Chipping Norton set, which also includes Mr Cameron and his wife Samantha, Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, and Mr Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth and her PR guru husband Matthew Freud.

The inquiry has already heard that Mrs Brooks regularly met Mr Cameron and other top politicians along with Rupert and James Murdoch.

She hosted a Christmas dinner on December 23 2010, just two days after Business Secretary Vince Cable was stripped of his responsibility for media takeovers for saying he had "declared war" on the Murdochs' News Corporation empire, and her wedding on June 13 2009 was attended by Mr Cameron and then Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Mr Cameron said in March that he rode a retired police horse loaned to Mrs Brooks by Scotland Yard from 2008 to 2010.

There is speculation that the Leveson Inquiry could release emails and text messages sent between Mr Cameron and the former News International chief executive.

Mrs Brooks has kept all the texts she received from the Prime Minister, of which there could have been more than 12 a day, according to Daily Telegraph columnist Peter Oborne.

Emails sent by News Corp lobbyist Frederic Michel released by the inquiry have led to calls for Mr Hunt's resignation over claims he secretly backed the Murdochs' BSkyB takeover bid.

Mrs Brooks has twice been arrested by Scotland Yard detectives investigating allegations of phone hacking, corrupt payments to public officials, and an attempt to pervert the course of justice. She was bailed and has not been charged.

PA

9 comments

  • "Chipping Norton Set"...

    Now I remember why I emigrated to OZ in the '60s.

    Scum... All of them.

    Commenter
    Hanging Judge Jeffries
    Location
    Wirruppa Hill - Central VIC
    Date and time
    May 09, 2012, 11:04AM
    • I moved in the late 60's.

      AUS may not be perfect but it is not a complete shamble either.

      There is one risk though, it follows the old country too much and it may result in some copying of stupid behaviour.

      Commenter
      caledonia
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 1:50PM
  • I stronly believe that George Michael should run for PM in the UK. He has a great character of the highest integrity, a really talented artist, an outspoken critic of the current mediocrity that befell upon the UK in the last few years. I admire this person more and more each day.

    Commenter
    Daniel
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 09, 2012, 11:59AM
    • The same George Michael that was arrested for lewd acts in a male toilet a few years ago?????

      Commenter
      ROTFLMAO
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 1:59PM
    • @ROTFLMAO

      ... well you can get "arrested for lewd acts in a male toilet [in the UK]" come back to Australia and still be regarded as a leading opinion maker, idolised by hoi polloi and courted by politicians from the major parties, so why not?

      Commenter
      Killjoy
      Location
      Sinny
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 2:31PM
  • Hanging Judge Jeffries...I do sincerely hope there is not a Wirruppa Hill Set......the Gold Coast set are bad enough and we are now seeing this years re-amerging fashion statement of white shoes being worn by men in the development business. We all might need a tree change to Wirruppa Hill to escape their deprivations.

    Commenter
    Alan
    Location
    Gold Coast
    Date and time
    May 09, 2012, 12:10PM
    • Huh?

      Commenter
      Christos
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 12:35PM
    • Christos, it relates to the 1970's when a lot of politically connected "developers" cashed in on the Gold Coast, went broke and decamped leaving a lot of people without their invested monies.. There was a tendency for them developers to wear white shoes and they were called the "white shoe brigade." Synonymous with rip off merchants. I am worreid about history repeating itself on the Gold Coast and perhaps Wirruppa Hill might be a good bolt hole.
      History lesson ends.

      Commenter
      Alan
      Location
      Gold Coast
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 1:56PM
    • Alan, the only "Set" you need around here is a set of decent spanners to fix your tractor!

      Wirruppa Hill is a wonderful mythical place where sheep, wheat, canola and ten dollar pub lunches live together in perfect harmony.

      White shoes? I don't think they do Blundstone boots in white... I do hope you are wrong about QLD... I guess the ghosts of Joe and Flo are still walking at night...

      Commenter
      Hanging Judge Jeffries
      Location
      Wirruppa Hill - Central VIC
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 2:27PM
Comments are now closed
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