The week ahead: All-star cast for Leveson, Rebekah Brooks in court, Diamond Jubilee festivities continue

Press Gazette’s guide to the big stories for the week ahead provided by Foresight News.

The long-running Leveson Inquiry finishes module three with a flourish this week, with an all-star line-up of senior policy-makers past and present called to give evidence on the relationship between the press and the politicians. Today sees former PM Gordon Brown make a rare appearance in London, followed by Chancellor George Osborne, who was reportedly only planning to give written evidence but who will now appear in the flesh, no doubt providing some rich material for the Guardian’s cartoonist Steve Bell.

Labour leader Ed Miliband, who has distanced himself from News International since the hacking scandal, gives evidence on Tuesday alongside the man wot the Sun won it for in 1992, former Prime Minister John Major. On Wednesday, tennis fan Nick Clegg gives evidence followed by Rupert Murdoch’s latest flame Alex Salmond. David Cameron will attend the Inquiry for Thursday’s session, the last of the unit, although ongoing legal action concerning former spin doctor Andy Coulson and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks may limit the extent of Robert Jay’s questioning.

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Over in Ukraine, England’s finest (or at least the ones who haven’t been injured, banned, or left at home for ‘football reasons’) kick off their Euro 2012 campaign with a match against France at the Donbass Arena on Monday. As well as the underdog England team’s own difficulties, the tournament has been overshadowed by accusations of host crowd racism and the British Government’s decision not to send ministers to the opening stages in protest at the continued imprisonment of former Ukraininan PM Yulia Tymoshenko.

On Tuesday, opposition groups in Russia hold a rally to protest against the arrest of activists and leaders at earlier demonstrations against the result of the March 4 election that saw Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency. The rally takes place on a Russian public holiday and comes in the wake of controversial legislation passed last week by the Duma, ominously increasing the level of fines that could be levied on demonstrators who apparently ‘violate public order’.

Wednesday sees Foreign and Commonwealth Minister Jeremy Browne visit the Falklands to Mark tomorrow’s 30th anniversary of the end of the Falklands conflict. Browne will remain on the Islands until Thursday, and is the first British minister to visit in an official capacity since 2008. He’s expected to attend the annual Liberation Day service on June 14, no doubt to the annoyance of Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner, who has previously accused Britain of treating the Falklands as ‘21st century colonial enclaves‘.

The Rebekah Brooks ‘witch-hunt’ resumes on Wednesday when the flame-haired former News International chief executive is expected to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court alongside husband Charles Brooks. The pair are charged with perverting the course of justice in relation to material relevant to police investigations into phone hacking and corruption, as are Mrs Brooks’s personal assistant Cheryl Carter, former News International head of security Mark Hannah, former News International chauffeur Paul Edwards and Daryl Josling.

Osborne is in his element on Thursday as he speaks to a host of City fat cats at the annual Mansion House Dinner. Our Chancellor will want to ensure the assembled bankers and money-men (i.e. donors) that his government is not about to offer up the City of London on a sacrificial altar in the name of further European integration – a prospect seen as increasingly likely in response to the eurozone debt vortex. And on the economy, he could struggle to deploy some of last year’s rather more hopeful lines such as ‘The British economy is recovering’ and ‘Stability has returned’. Maybe next year…

Texas billionaire Allen Stanford is sentenced in a Houston court on Thursday after being found guilty of 13 counts of fraud for orchestrating a $7bn Ponzi scheme. The 62-year-old Cheshire Cat look-a-like has endured a spectacular fall from grace since 2008, when Stanford Ponzi-rolled a Twenty20 cricket tournament between England, West Indies and his superstars team. Stanford’s outing as a fraudster forced ECB chairman Giles Clarke and Ian Botham into performing a rather sudden and mealy-mouthed reverse ferret.

His Holiness reincarnate the Dalai Lama begins his tour of the UK with a set piece speech on Friday at a Yorkshire business convention in sun-kissed Leeds. While offering his considerable insight and experience on how to get businesses ethically growing in the north of England, His Holiness will also be joined by high-street thinker Mary Portas, Michael Portillo and BBC sports presenter Clare Balding. Obviously.

This bumper Diamond Jubilee year continues on Saturday with the Trooping of the Colour as The Queen celebrates her official birthday. And, after the weather-affected Thames pageant fly-past was called off because of torrential rain, Her Majesty gets another chance to watch some RAF planes hurtle past from the safety of Buckingham Palace balcony.

After every EU meeting over the last year has been tediously declared a day of judgment for the future of the eurozone, this Sunday may well prove to be the one that fits the bill – and there’s not an EU bureaucrat in sight. Greeks return to the polls to vote for their parliament after inconclusive elections on May 6, which saw the rise of Syriza, a left-wing radical and anti-bailout party. Polling suggests both Syriza and New Democracy are vying for the win, with the outcome expected to decide whether Greece continues to abide by the EU-agreed bailout and austerity packages.



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