In the heart north face coats of fashionable Soho, celebrities, famous political figures, and well-heeled lawyers gathered at a private members’ club to eat and drink into the night.
Was it a party celebrating a new film or book – or perhaps a fashion designer’s new collection?
What celebration could possibly bring together actor Hugh Grant, comedian Steve Coogan, former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell and reality show rentaguest Kerry Katona?
Fellow guests: Labour MP Tom Watson (left) and TV personality Ulrika Jonsson
Extraordinarily, the Tuesday evening north face jackets cheap online gathering, whose 50 guests enjoyed food and alcohol costing some £50 a head, was organised by the Hacked Off campaign group, which was established to call for a public investigation of the press – and many of those present are witnesses at the Leveson Inquiry.
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Grant and Coogan had already given their evidence by then, while fellow guest, motor racing supremo Max Mosley, did so yesterday.
Others among those enjoying the food, drink and socialising were Labour MP Tom Watson, who has led much of the campaign against Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and phone hacking in particular, and lawyer Mark Lewis, who is representing a number of phone hacking victims.
Something in common: Max Mosley and Kerry Katona also attended the partyUlrika Jonsson, who also claims to have been hacked, and PR man Max Clifford were there too.
In criminal court cases there are clear buy kids north face coats rules discouraging witnesses from discussing their evidence with each other during trials – but there are no such restrictions for public inquiries.
A senior lawyer who assists the Government in running inquiries, however, said yesterday that such a gathering was ‘clearly against common sense’.
Ashley Underwood QC said: ‘You could have a witness who may not, unless his memory is jogged or sensibilities pushed, say something until he realises that a co-client thinks the same way.’
A spokesman for the Century Club – which hired out a second-floor bar to the group at a cost of £500, providing at least £2,000 was spent on food and drink – said he had been told not to discuss the event.
A Hacked Off spokesman confirmed that two unnamed supporters of the group had paid the whole bill.
Campaign co-ordinator Thais Portilho-Shrimpton, a journalist, said: ‘It was a gathering – it wasn’t a party. There wasn’t even any music as far as I remember. It was just an opportunity for people who have had claims against newspapers, or had issues with them, to come together with their solicitors and talk to each other.’