June 20 2013 Latest news:
Friday, May 11, 2012
Rebekah Brooks lifted the lid on her close relationship with David Cameron today - revealing that he would sign off text messages “lots of love”.
The former News International boss also disclosed that the Prime Minister expressed regret that he could not be more loyal publicly when she was forced to resign over the phone-hacking scandal.
The highly embarrassing revelations emerged as Mrs Brooks gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.
She detailed her contacts with the most powerful people in the country over more than a decade, including dozens of lunches and dinners with successive prime ministers.
She met or dined with Tony Blair at least 30 times between 1998 and 2007, including three times tete-a-tete.
She had more than five such encounters with Gordon Brown after he took over at No 10, although she said she was closer to his wife Sarah.
But the links with Mr Cameron, whom she described as her “friend”, are likely to provoke the most fallout.
They met at least once for lunch and four times for dinner following the 2010 general election, including a widely-reported Christmas dinner party at the Brooks’ Oxfordshire home on December 23 that year.
Mrs Brooks said after she left News International last July she received commiserations from “some Tories” but “very few Labour politicians”.
Mrs Brooks indicated that Mr Cameron’s message was along the lines of “keep your head up”
Pressed on whether he had also conveyed regret that political circumstances meant he could not be more loyal, Mrs Brooks replied: “Similar, but very indirect.”
Mrs Brooks dismissed reports that Mr Cameron would text her 12 times a day.
“No, thankfully,” she said. “I have read this as well, 12 times a day. It is preposterous.
“I would text Mr Cameron, and vice-versa on occasion, like a lot of people. Probably more between January 2010 and maybe during the election campaign.
“He would sign them off DC, in the main. Occasionally he would sign them off ‘lol’, lots of love. Until I told him it meant ‘laugh out loud’.”
Mrs Brooks said she only had six weeks of information from the beginning of June to July 17 last year.
One of the text messages was from Mr Cameron, but the content was compressed and unreadable, she said.
Mrs Brooks pointed out that her husband Charlie, a contemporary of the Prime Minister at Eton, had longstanding family links with the Camerons separate from her own connections.