In the end, it came straight from the horse’s mouth.
After repeated questions, and non-denial denials from Downing Street, the prime minister finally admitted it; he did ride the horse former News International boss Rebekah Brooks had been given by the Metropolitan Police, Raisa.
"If a confusing picture has emerged over the last few days I’m very sorry about that," Cameron told journalists during a press conference in March. "I think my staff have had to answer a lot of questions about horses."
The admission, which did nothing to quell suspicions about the relationship between the prime minister and News International, came after former Met boss Dick Fedorcio revealed Brooks had been given the former police horse during the Leveson inquiry.
The nine months of hearings led to a 2,000 page report, the conclusions of which are still being wrangled over by MPs - but it also managed to stir up a lot of trouble for politicians whose relationships with the media were scrutinised line by line, embarrassing text by embarrassing text.
So giddyup, as we recap the unexpected insight Leveson gave us into the personal lives of politicians and media moguls. After all, as Paul McMullen would say, privacy is for paedos...
Merci papa: Hunt's texts to Michel were revealed
WHO’S THE DADDY?
Jeremy Hunt addressed News Corp lobbyist Frédéric Michel as "Daddy" in a series of schmoozy text messages released to the inquiry. The nickname was said to have come around as their children were born in the same hospital on the same evening. In one text Hunt also referred to Michel, who is French, as "papa."
See some examples below:
FM: You were great on the BBC this week-end!
JH: U too daddy
FM: Great speech. Watched it with cycling team. And I can’t believe you managed to do Newsnight as well! You have stamina daddy!
JH: We all find it somewhere!
LOL DC: Rebekah Brook's texts to Cameron were revealed at Leveson
CAMERON’S TEXTS TO BROOKS
Don’t you just hate it when your parents don’t understand ur txt spk? Well imagine if you have to tell the prime minister he’s confused his acronyms. Brooks confessed to the Leveson inquiry that in her texts to Cameron he used to sign off with "LOL" - meaning lots of love. She had to inform him it actually meant "laugh out loud."
In texts kept from the inquiry but later revealed by the Mail on Sunday, the former red top editor also told Cameron she "cried twice" during his party conference speech in 2009.
It's war: Clashes between Murdoch and Brown played out in public
MURDOCH VERSUS BROWN
Gordon Brown "declared war" on News Corp. That was Rupert Murdoch’s version of the story when he appeared at the Leveson inquiry in April 2012, anyway, and he stuck to it despite Brown’s denials.
"He [Gordon Brown] said 'well, your company has declared war on my government. And we have no alternative to make war on your company'," Murdoch told Leveson.
When Brown appeared at the stand he got his own back, denying that he had given permission for The Sun to run a story about his son and suggesting in a TV interview his child's medical records may have been hacked. The Sun then hit back, deepening the rift between the former prime minister and News Corp.
A bucket of what? Kelvin Mackenzie appeared at the inquiry
KELVIN MACKENZIE AND A BUCKET OF SHIT
Gordon Brown was not the only former prime minister treated badly by the press. His Conservative predecessor, John Major, took a mauling from the tabloids over allegations of sleaze from his government. Case in point? This quote from former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie on how he told Major the paper would be covering black Wednesday:
"I said I've got a bucket of shit on my desk, prime minister, and I'm going to pour it all over you."
It's Hugh 'Mungo' Grant, scurge of #womanontheleft
WEIRD MIDDLE NAMES
Hugh Grant's is Mungo. John Prescott’s is Leslie (and not two jags). Adam Boulton’s is Babbington. Then there was Jeremy 'Dickson' Paxman and Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt. The revelation of some of our household name’s middle-monikers was another highlight of hearings (that, and finding out Rupert Murdoch’s real name is Keith.)
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