Leveson: 'We're definitely in this together', Brooks told PM

 

Rebekah Brooks' text to David Cameron: "We're definitely in this together"

Ex-News International executive Rebekah Brooks told the PM "professionally we're definitely in this together", after the Sun paper switched loyalty to his party, the Leveson Inquiry heard.

Mrs Brooks sent the text to David Cameron on the eve of his speech to the 2009 Conservative Party conference.

But Mr Cameron said ex-PM Gordon Brown's claims about a Tory deal with the company were "complete nonsense".

And he said hiring ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson had "haunted" him.

Mr Coulson became Mr Cameron's communications chief after resigning from the paper when its royal editor Clive Goodman was jailed for phone hacking.

'Proud friend'

Mr Cameron said Mr Brown's claim - that the Tories agreed to cut funding for the BBC and media regulator Ofcom in return for political support from News International - had been made because he was "very angry and disappointed" at the Sun's decision to switch support from Labour ahead of the 2010 general election.

Start Quote

Questioned about the Murdochs, Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and Jeremy Hunt, he looked "tense, edgy, uncomfortable and again and again said he couldn't recall events"”

End Quote

Mr Cameron said the message from Mrs Brooks, dated October 2009 and submitted as part of his written evidence, was a reflection the Sun had the previous week decided to support the Conservatives.

Mrs Brooks said in the text to the then opposition leader: "I am so rooting for you tomorrow, not just as a proud friend but because professionally we're definitely in this together."

The text refers to how they should have a "country supper soon".

Despite the friendship, Mr Cameron said there had been "no overt deals", "no covert deals" and "no nods and winks" with the company.

He said he did have some conversations with editors in which he told them "we'd love a bit more support from your paper", but "not very often".

Legal advice

Speaking about Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's appointment to handle the bid by News International's parent company News Corporation to buy BSkyB, Mr Cameron said: "It was not some rushed, botched, political decision. If anyone had told me Jeremy Hunt couldn't do the job I wouldn't have given him the job."

He said he "definitely asked the cabinet secretary's [Sir Jeremy Heywood] view and my memory is that he sought legal advice."

The BSkyB bid was eventually abandoned in July 2011 amid outrage over the phone-hacking scandal.

Rebekah Brooks's message to David Cameron on eve of conference speech

"But seriously I do understand the issue with the Times. Let's discuss over country supper soon.

"On the party it was because I had asked a number of NI (News International) people to Manchester post endorsement and they were disappointed not to see you. But as always Sam was wonderful (and I thought it was OE's [Old Etonians] were charm personified!)

"I am so rooting for you tomorrow not just as a proud friend but because professionally we're definitely in this together! Speech of your life? Yes he Cam".

The Conservatives have been accused of having a biased view in favour of the bid by News Corporation.

The prime minister's witness statement reveals he had 1,404 meetings with "media figures" - 26 a month on average - while in opposition between 2005 and 2010. Once in government, that fell to an average of about 13 a month.

In 2008 he took a trip to the Greek island of Santorini for a dinner with News International boss Rupert Murdoch because it was a chance to "build a relationship" with him.

When asked by Robert Jay QC, counsel for the inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the press, how frequently he had seen Mrs Brooks between 2008 and 2009 when he was at home in his constituency in Oxfordshire, Mr Cameron was not specific.

He replied: "Not every weekend... um, in 2008/09, I'd have to check, I might be able to go back and check but I don't think every weekend, I don't think most weekends."

'Controversial appointment'

When he returned to give evidence in the afternoon however he said he had more details, after checking his wife Samantha's diary.

It suggested the couple were "in the constituency" 23 weekends in 2009 and 15 in 2010, meaning "we probably did not see [the Brooks] more than once every six weeks".

Lord Justice Leveson replied: "The great value of wives, prime minister."

Charlie and Rebekah Brooks leave court Charlie and Rebekah Brooks appeared in court on Wednesday

Mrs Brooks and her husband Charlie - who went to school with Mr Cameron - have both been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in relation to the phone-hacking scandal surrounding News of the World. Both deny wrongdoing.

The prime minister told the inquiry he accepted hiring Mr Coulson was "a controversial appointment" which had "come back to haunt both him and me".

However, Mr Cameron said had been given "assurances" at the time by Mr Coulson that he had no knowledge of phone hacking at the paper.

Earlier Mr Cameron said politicians "have to take care when you have personal friendships [with individuals in the media] but that can be done and I have done that".

Mr Cameron said the relationship between politicians and the media had deteriorated. "How we get it to a better place, I think part of it will be about transparency, better regulation, having a bit more distance, that will be part of respect."

BBC political editor Nick Robinson said some of the key moments in Mr Cameron's testimony were when he was asked about Mr Murdoch, Mrs Brooks and the Sun, saying his answers were often "terse" and that he looked "tense".

Meanwhile Mr Hunt, responding to a Parliamentary question, said the Leveson Inquiry has so far cost taxpayers £3.2 million, with the total cost for part one of the investigation expected to reach £5.6 million.

 

More on This Story

The Leveson report

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • Comment number 1014.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 1013.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 1012.

    I am deeply saddened by the people who have suggested that this matter is 'dragging on'. It is one of the most important inquiries of modern times...it is apathy that has allowed for corruption on this scale to spread. We are conditioned to have limited attention spans and to conveniently forget and get bored of what in the news. Our rights and powers will be eroded, as history teaches us...

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 1011.

    981.
    Skywatchman

    Afraid to say it's only the rabid activist lefties, Guardian and BBC following the byline (as Peter Sissons would say) that really give much of a fig about celebrity phone hacking or Leveson or who sent which text to Rupert Murdoch. The UK public care more about food on their plate, immigration and taxation and were more angry with the expense claims by Labour house flippers.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 1010.

    Amazing, Cameron call the Leveson public enquiry & is lambasted on here over it yet Tony Bliar refused to call a public enquiry into the Iraq War & the suspicous circumstances around Dr David Kellys death..........were the happy clapping socialists crying wolf then......NO!!!

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1009.

    It's black and white. Everyone can see exactly what went on here. If you are trying to defend this collaboration then you are blinkered or you are lying to yourself. IT'S A DISSGRACEFUL MESS AND THE GOVERNMENT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR IT.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 1008.

    Robert Jay QC is a class act... he even responded to a query of mine about his 'yellow' glasses.

    It's a pleasure to watch someone who is at the top of their game perform.

    If ever I have a legal problem... he's the man!

    As DC now appreciates.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1007.

    It's far far from over..Cameron has got 3 close friends that are on a charge of perjury, and he needs their trials all done and dusted by 2014 for maximum damage limitation prior to the election year.
    A round of quantative easing and to stimulate a false quarter of growth and a cynical budget may be in order, but that still does not guarantee anything.I can't see how he is going to come good.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1006.

    Re 911 Stan Howard Well stated, in nutshell, just like the EU one could not write a funnier book !! Shame its not funny!

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1005.

    @976. Darren
    I'm sorry but I cannot recall should not be accepted as a answer from the PM.....but then again this muppet forgets his own child when they go out !!
    ---
    Have you considered that the forgotten child thing was timed precisely? Release that, PM looks forgetful and foolish, I don't recall - is more believable. The Sun is having a minor support campaign about parents losing kids now!!

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 1004.

    Woohoo! Over a thousand comments, mainly having a go at Dave. My faith in British democracy is restored :-)

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 1003.

    Are we going to take bets on who is going to get thrown to the lions as scapegoats ?

    I feel sorry for those that will have to fall on the sword just to protect a bunch of corrupt rich boys. Somehow the quote "We are all in this together" gets more unbelievable has each day goes by :)

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1002.

    992.
    Evan
    Just now

    @990. aphoristic
    Hmmm interesting... My post 972 voted down for pointing out that Liebour are just as bad! I suppose they didn't get in bed with the Murdochs then? LOL

    ...... is that a posh way of saying "labour"?

    No just me showing equal disdain for Liebour and CONservatives!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1001.

    Hunt and Cameron remind me of Bill Clinton - he wasn't aware that he was receiving a sexual favour, but then I suppose it's difficult to keep track of what's going on below in fairness.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1000.

    972.aphoristic
    11 Minutes ago
    "as a nation we seem to be incapable of voting in anyone other than the same old usual suspect two parties!! "

    __________
    This is because eople are too brain washed and can not get their heads around a coalition government.
    The most successful countries in europe ALL have coalition governments.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 999.

    Cameron lit the fuse on this and he'll be hoist by his own petard. Though it's more likely he'll just bluff it out in time; there's the Olympics and the summer recess ahead, and perhaps too he's counting on people's memory being as short as he makes his out to be.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 998.

    961.York Alty
    "Cameron and Brooks are in it together. "It" being deep doo doo.

    Pack your bags Dave, leave the keys on the way out please."

    Actually, the door to number 10 cannot be opened from the outside (how ironic!) so he hasn't got the keys anyway. And being in "it" wouldn't bother them: he talks it and she used to print it.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 997.

    Is the Leveson inquiry going to take the record for the longest suicide note in history.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 996.

    When I ask my dog to sit,say come, she sometimes ignores me.
    I think its called selective memory loss.
    It seems to have spread to our politicians, I can see a Czar coming on.

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 995.

    Brooks texted Cameron: 'We're in this together' - ohh yes! you certainly are Mr Cameron right up to your neck int it!!

 

Page 1 of 51

 

More UK stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.