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Leveson Inquiry: Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson to give evidence next week

FORMER News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and former News of the World editor Andy Coulson will give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry next week.

Brooks will give evidence next Friday, May 11, the Inquiry revealed. She is expected to be asked about her relations with politicians and senior police officers.

Andy Coulson, who edited the News of the World from 2003 until his resignation in 2007, is due to appear next Thursday.

Coulson later became David Cameron's communications director, before resigning in January last year over continued media coverage of phone-hacking.

Also due to appear on Thursday is Viscount Rothermere, the owner of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday.

Mrs Brooks, 43, who edited the News of the World and The Sun, 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.

She has been named as one of the Leveson Inquiry's "core participants", people who have a significant interest in the hearings or may face criticism.

This means she has advance access to documents and witness statements, and the right to put questions to other witnesses through her lawyers.

The Leveson Inquiry's lawyers will not be able to question Mrs Brooks or Mr Coulson, who has also been arrested and bailed, about anything that could prejudice the continuing police investigation into phone hacking or any potential future trials.

The Met's Detective Chief Inspector Brendan Gilmore from Operation Glade, the police investigation into alleged police corruption, will give evidence next Wednesday, along with Martin Clarke, the editor of Mail Online.

Mrs Brooks's evidence could prove embarrassing for Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Cameron was forced to admit that he rode a retired police horse loaned to the former News International chief executive by Scotland Yard from 2008 to 2010.

In evidence to the Leveson Inquiry in March, ex-Metropolitan Police communications chief Dick Fedorcio denied a suggestion that he arranged for Mrs Brooks to borrow the horse in return for securing work experience at The Sun for his son.

Mr Cameron set up the Leveson Inquiry last July in response to revelations that the News of the World hacked murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone after she disappeared in 2002.

The first part of the inquiry, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, is looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the Press in general and is due to produce a report by October.

Lord Justice Leveson indicated this week that the second part, examining the extent of unlawful activities by journalists, may not go ahead.