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David Cameron met Rebekah Brooks twice in four days

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David Cameron met Rebekah Brooks twice in four days

Post by HotlipsHealy on 19.07.11 18:57

By Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor6:13PM BST 19 Jul 2011Comment
The news will raise further questions over the close ties between Mr Cameron and Mrs Brooks, who has since been arrested over the phone hacking scandal.
Sources close to the Prime Minister confirmed yesterday that Mr Cameron and Mrs Brooks had met at a social engagement on Boxing Day last year.
That engagement came after the pair, along with James Murdoch, and their wives and husbands, met for a Christmas dinner on December 23.
Details of the meetings were disclosed late last week in a list of the Prime Minister’s meetings with senior media executives.
However, the list did not include dates and did not reveal the close proximity of the two meetings with Mrs Brooks.
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It also emerged that Mr Cameron described Mrs Brooks has one of his “closest friends” at his 44th birthday party at his official residence Chequers last October.
The remark raised eyebrows because Mrs Brooks was the only “outsider” at the party, which was mainly attended by close friends who have known Mr Cameron for decades.
Last night John Mann, a leading backbench MP, accused Downing Street of trying to cover up the exact timings of the meetings.
He said: “It is outrageous that this has not been made public before. There is clearly an attempt to cover up, and the question is why.”
Yesterday a row broke out between Mr Mann and Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, after Sir Gus rejected a swiftly complaint that Mr Cameron had breached the ministerial code over an alleged conflict of interest over his links to Mr Murdoch.
Mr Mann said there had been a breach because Mr Cameron had removed decision-making powers over the BSkyB bid from Vince Cable after the Business secretary had made unguarded comments that he had “gone to war” with Rupert Murdoch two days before meeting Mr Murdoch for a Christmas dinner.
However in a letter yesterday Sir Gus replied: “I am satisfied that decisions on the BSkyB takeover were at all times taken properly and in accordance with the relevant legislation.
“The Prime Minister was not the decision maker. Nor did he seek to influence the decisions of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt.
“The fact that he had meetings with Rebekah Brooks and James Murdoch last year is a matter of public record.
“The fact that the Prime Minister was not the decision maker meant that he would not have had to consult me before meeting them.”
In reply to Sir Gus’s letter, Mr Mann said he had “failed to act appropriately with regard to the complaint” and asked a series of further questions about the dinner.
He said: “It is the Prime Minister, not you, who under section 1.5 of the code is the ultimate judge of Ministerial standards. Why have you not referred this matter to him?”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said yesterday: “He [the Prime Minister] has not broken the ministerial code.
“He has been very clear that he was not part of the process regarding BSkyB. That has been Jeremy Hunt’s role, and it has been a quasi judicial role.
“He has not been involved in any of the discussions regarding BSkyB, he has been absolutely clear on that.”


Kate McCann: It was our holiday too.


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