Alastair Campbell 2001

Alastair Campbell said today that he was 'genuinely shocked' by the leaking of his written statement to the inquiry

Credit: Matthew Fearn/PA
The Leveson inquiry has broken for an extended lunch break today to discuss how to deal with the leak of Alastair Campbell's written statement three days ahead of his scheduled appearance.

The statement was leaked to political blogger Paul Staines, who goes by the pseudonym Guido Fawkes and is behind the blog Order-Order. Staines published a post about the statement yesterday and linked to it online. He has been summoned to appear before the inquiry to give evidence over the leak, with Lord Leveson likely to force him to reveal the source of the document.

Leveson said initially that he intended to publish Campbell's evidence on the inquiry website early, so as to deny Staines "the oxygen of publicity". But the planned publication was contested by the Daily Mail's Jonathan Caplan QC, who argued that news organisations Campbell had levelled accusations against who not be afforded a right of reply until the former Labour spin doctor appeared on the stand on Wednesday.

Caplan argued that although news of the leak had spread, the statement itself had not been widely published. He asked that the publication be delayed, giving the relevant groups time to make submissions to the inquiry in response to Campbell's evidence first.

Leveson said in court this morning that he was "concerned" about the leak, and instructed core participants to "re-examine their security" in light of it. But the court heard from inquiry counsel Robert Jay QC that the version of the statement leaked online was different to that provided to core participants, to which Leveson responded that he was "relieved" but "not sure where that leads".

He reminded the court that under section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005, anyone with access to evidence was prohibited from making it available elsewhere before the witness in question had delivered it in court, adding that he would take "appropriate action" against anyone found to be in breach of the order.

Staines has claimed that he obtained the statement through legal means and it remains available on his website during the inquiry's lunch break on Monday afternoon.

The court is expected to hear at around 1:45pm of any administrative procedures related to the leak, including whether Campbell's statement will be published by the inquiry website ahead of his appearance on Wednesday.

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