Inquiry barrister's pay questioned
A barrister for the Leveson Inquiry into media standards was paid almost £220,000 of taxpayers' cash in 16 months, new parliamentary figures show.
Carine Patry Hoskins' fees amounted to £218,606 between July 2011 and November 2012 for her work on the counsel team appointed by Lord Justice Leveson to question witnesses and provide legal advice to the inquiry panel.
Ms Patry Hoskins became known as "woman on the left"and received thousands of mentions on Twitter for her close attention to actor Hugh Grant's evidence during the 97-day inquiry, which cost £5.44 million. She was later alleged to have had a relationship with barrister David Sherborne, who represented Grant and other phone-hacking victims at the Inquiry.
Conservative MP Rob Wilson, who unearthed the figures through a parliamentary question, said he will write to Lord Justice Leveson to request a full breakdown of Ms Patry Hoskins' work.
He said: "This is one hell of a payday for someone described by Lord Justice Leveson as doing merely mechanical and fact-checking work.
"It raises questions as to whether this is value for taxpayers' money as to why she was paid over 10 times the average wage only to have no influence or input whatsoever into the Leveson Report.
"Surely someone more junior could have undertaken these junior tasks at a fraction of the cost?
"This is either an extravagant use of taxpayer's money or we do not yet know the full extent of her work. I will be writing to Lord Justice Leveson to request a full breakdown of what Carine Patry Hoskins was paid for in the light of the huge sums of taxpayers' money involved."
Mr Sherborne and Ms Patry Hoskins reportedly went on holiday together to Santorini in August 2012, days after the public hearings concluded and months before the inquiry ended. But they were said to maintain their relationship did not begin until after the Leveson report was published last November.
Ms Patry Hoskins only carried out ''proof reading'' in the period after the two apparently become involved and was not involved in discussions about any of the recommendations, Lord Justice Leveson previously said in a letter to Tory MP Mr Wilson.