Cameron and Osborne to appear before Leveson next week

Clegg, Salmond, Miliband, Harman, Major and Brown will also appear.

Next week's Leveson line-up is the most noteworthy yet. David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Alex Salmond, Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman and Gordon Brown will all appear. As will George Osborne, who was previously scheduled only to submit written evidence.

But for reasons I've explained before, the Chancellor had to appear. It was inconceivable that the man who recruited Andy Coulson, who met Murdoch executives 16 times following the general election and who, in the words of Rebekah Brooks, expressed "total bafflement" at Ofcom's response to the BSkyB bid, would not take to the witness stand. As the Lib Dem peer Michael Oakeshott quipped, "Leveson without Osborne would be like Hamlet without the prince".

One key question for Osborne will be whether he spoke to James Murdoch on the day that Jeremy Hunt was handed ministerial responsibility for the BSkyB bid. As was revealed during Hunt's evidence, following Vince Cable's declaration of "war" on Rupert Murdoch, Osborne texted the Culture Secretary and told him: "I hope you like the solution!" The solution being to hand Hunt, a cheerleader for the Murdochs (the most egregious example being his congratulatory text to James Murdoch,"Only Ofcom to go!"), responsibility for the bid.

Here's the full schedule for next week:

Monday: Gordon Brown and George Osborne.

Tuesday: Harriet Harman, John Major and Ed Miliband.

Wednesday: Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond.

Thursday: David Cameron.

Friday: Non-sitting day.

George Osborne will appear at the Leveson inquiry on Monday and David Cameron will appear on Thursday. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
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Boris Johnson pulls out of the Conservative leadership race

Boris Johnson has stunned Westminster by pulling out of the race to be David Cameron's successor. 

Boris Johnson will not run to be Conservative leader, the former Mayor of London has announced. 

Johnson's campaign, who started the race as the early frontrunner, was rocked by a series of body blows over the last 24 hours. A series of polls showed him trailing Theresa May both among the public and Conservative members, while the entry of Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary, into the race, imperilled his standing among members. 

The contest will now be between Gove, May, Stephen Crabb, Andrea Leadsom, and Liam Fox. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.