British PM sent 'indirect' sympathy to Brooks
The former News executive fronts the Leveson Inquiry, saying David Cameron was one of several politicians who sent her messages of commiseration.PT1M56S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-1yj0j 620 349 May 12, 2012
LONDON: The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, texted Rebekah Brooks in the week she quit as News International's chief executive over the phone-hacking scandal to tell her to keep her head up, it has been claimed in an updated biography of him.
In a sign of his closeness to some of the most controversial News International chiefs, Mr Cameron is said to have told Mrs Brooks she would get through her difficulties, just days before she stood down.
It is also alleged he agreed to meet her at a point-to-point horse race so long as they were not seen together, and that he also pressed the Metropolitan Police to review the case of missing Madeleine McCann in May last year following pressure from Mrs Brooks.
David Cameron ... under scrutiny. Photo: Getty Images
It is claimed the Prime Minister then sent an intermediary to Mrs Brooks to explain why contacts had to be brought to an abrupt halt after she resigned. The authors say the gist of that message was ''Sorry I couldn't have been as loyal to you as you have been to me, but Ed Miliband had me on the run.''
The revelation comes in a week that Mr Cameron's closeness to Mrs Brooks will come under intense scrutiny when she gives evidence to the Leveson inquiry today. It is not known whether precise details of her text exchanges will be published by the inquiry, but it is thought that at certain points she was in repeated daily text contact.
The former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was also due to give evidence to the inquiry, including how he came to be appointed as director of communications for the Conservative Party.
Rebekah Brooks ... evidence due. Photo: AFP
Mr Cameron has admitted that he and other politicians became too close to too many newspaper proprietors and executives.
Following a ruling by the Leveson inquiry into media standards last week, the Prime Minister is being given early access to the evidence being submitted to the inquiry. He will be studying Mrs Brooks's evidence and preparing a counter-strategy.
The details of the text come in a revised biography of the Prime Minister, Cameron: Practically a Conservative, written by Frances Elliott of The Times and James Hanning of the Independent on Sunday.
The book also claims the Cabinet Office Minister, Oliver Letwin, acknowledged that the clutch of News International bosses such as Mrs Brooks could be very demanding.
The authors say Mr Letwin told them how the Conservatives viewed Mrs Brooks. ''The realpolitik is that you have to get on with people who run newspapers. Labour did the same.
''If you are on the same side as her, you have to see her every week. This was how it worked. It was what was demanded if you wanted them on your side.
''All of us should have said, 'We'll have nothing to do with them and we'll only meet them when we absolutely have to.' But the problem with that is if the other guy is doing it … it's an arms race. I don't think this was a love affair based on a misjudgment. I think it was a carefully calculated view of what you had to do in order to carry the people onto our side. That game is over, thank God.''
The book also claims royal courtiers told Mr Cameron's team that Buckingham Palace would think poorly of a decision to take Mr Coulson into Downing Street. They had previously been pacified by the understanding he would leave Mr Cameron's side after the election.
Downing Street sources told The Times the decision on the McCann case had been taken on its merits. ''This was something the government believed in. Just because a newspaper champions a cause doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do.''
Sources close to Mrs Brooks also told The Times she would not be commenting before her appearance before Lord Leveson.
Guardian News & Media