11/05/2012 06:02 BST | Updated 10/07/2012 06:12 BST

Leveson Inquiry: Rebekah Brooks Did Receive 'Texts And Indirect Messages' From Politicians

Rebekah Brooks did receive "texts and indirect messages" from politicians after she resigned as News International chief executive over the phone hacking scandal, the Leveson Inquiry heard on Friday.

Speaking at the inquiry into press standards and media ethics, Brooks admitted to receiving "sympathetic" messages from "Number 10, Number 11, the Home Office and the Foreign Office".

The former News International executive said she did receive "indirect messages" from the David Cameron, which were "along the lines" of "keep your head up". She said he also expressed regret that he could not be more loyal in public.

The 43-year-old said she did not receive many messages from Labour politicians. When asked by Robert Jay QC, counsel for the inquiry, if she received a message from Tony Blair, Brooks replied "yes".

Asked if she received a message from Gordon Brown, Brooks said, "no - he was probably putting the bunting out," provoking laughter in the courtroom.

Brooks said she only had access to around six weeks of texts and emails from her time as NI chief executive, from the beginning of June to 17 July last year.

Only one of those emails was relevant to the inquiry, according to her evidence.

One of the text messages had been from Cameron, but the content was compressed and unreadable, she said.

After her editorships Brooks went on to become chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's UK newspapers division News International in September 2009 until she resigned last July.

She and racehorse trainer husband Charlie are key members of the influential Chipping Norton set, which also includes Cameron and his wife Samantha, Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, and Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth and her PR guru husband Matthew Freud.

The inquiry has already heard that Brooks regularly met Cameron and other top politicians along with Rupert and James Murdoch.

She hosted a Christmas dinner on December 23 2010, just two days after Business Secretary Vince Cable was stripped of his responsibility for media takeovers for saying he had "declared war" on the Murdochs' News Corporation empire.

Cameron and former prime minister Gordon Brown attended Brooks’s wedding on 13 June 2009, and in March Cameron was forced to admit that he rode a retired police horse loaned to Brooks by Scotland Yard from 2008 to 2010.

An updated biography of Cameron: Practically A Conservative, claims he told Brooks she would get through her difficulties just days before she stood down over the phone hacking scandal.


There has speculation that the Leveson Inquiry could release emails and text messages sent between Cameron and the former News International chief executive.

TWITTER: Scroll down to read the best tweets about Brooks at Leveson

According to Daily Telegraph columnist Peter Oborne, Brooks has kept all the texts she received from the Prime Minister.

Brooks has twice been arrested by Scotland Yard detectives investigating allegations of phone hacking, corrupt payments to public officials, and an attempt to pervert the course of justice. She was bailed and has not been charged.

She will not be questioned about anything that could prejudice the continuing police investigation into phone hacking or any potential future trials.

Brooks' appearance could raise awkward questions for the Prime Minister as he tries to relaunch the coalition in the wake of bruising local election results last week.

Yesterday his former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was asked about how he came to be the PM's spin-doctor.

OPINION: Scroll down to leave your comments

Cameron said last July that "with 20:20 hindsight" he would not have hired Coulson in May 2007, four months after he resigned from the Sunday tabloid over the jailing of royal reporter Clive Goodman for phone hacking.

Coulson, 44, became Downing Street's communications chief in May 2010 but quit eight months later, saying controversy over the hacking scandal was making his job impossible.

Speaking publicly for the first time since being arrested by Scotland Yard on suspicion of phone hacking and corruption last July, he told the inquiry there was no "grand conspiracy" between the Tories and the Murdoch empire.

Coulson, who has been bailed and not charged, also admitted he had failed to declare a £40,000 shareholding in News Corporation while he was in Downing Street.

Cameron set up the Leveson Inquiry last July in response to revelations that the now-defunct News of the World hacked murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone after she disappeared in 2002.

The first part of the inquiry, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, is looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the Press in general and is due to produce a report by October.

On Thursday, her successor at the now defunct paper, Andy Coulson, appeared before the inquiry. He said that he had told David Cameron and George Osborne that his News International background "could not be seen as a factor" in guaranteeing the support of those newspapers after he joined the Downing Street staff.