Rebekah Brooks’s appearance before the Culture Media and Sport Committee was largely uneventful. Most of the questions addressed her editorship of the News of the World, a period about which she cannot openly speak at present because of the criminal proceedings brought against her.
However, Brooks was very keen to distance herself from David Cameron. Towards the end of the session, Tory MP Philip Davies asked of the stories circulating about her relationship with Cameron. She took the opportunity to deny them and set the record straight.
“I have not visited David Cameron at Downing Street since he has become Prime Minister,” she said and then added that she had visited Tony Blair and Gordon Brown there on numerous occasions. “When Gordon Brown was Chancellor and Prime Minister, I would’ve gone [there] maybe 6 times a year. With Blair…it was probably similar, though slightly more at the end [of his premiership]… I can give exact numbers if you like.”
She went on to say that she did not know where the story about her horse-riding with David Cameron had come from, or the stories about them co-owning race horses and land. Then she added that there is “lots out there [in the press about me and David] that isn’t true.”
Adrian Sanders asked her about the Conservatives’ appointment of Andy Coulson. She replied that it was a “matter of public knowledge that George Osborne had the idea”. Indeed, it is widely believed that it was Osborne who pursued Andy Coulson after the latter left the News of the World, and some Tories
hold Osborne responsible for drawing the party too close to News International.
It should be stressed that the toxic revelations about Andy Coulson and Neil Wallis broke while Brooks was giving evidence, so she could not have known the full significance of her statement. But, even so, what a slice of luck for Cameron that these facts have been aired ahead of tomorrow’s parliamentary session and the meeting of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs. You suspect that he’ll need a little luck.