Brooks to give Leveson evidence
11 May 2012
Last updated at 02:48
Rebekah Brooks is expected to be asked about her close relationship with PM David Cameron
Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, is to give evidence at the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics on Friday.
Mrs Brooks resigned last year following the closure of the News of the World in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
She was later arrested over hacking and corruption allegations, and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
The Leveson Inquiry is now focusing on to the relationship between politicians and the media.
Mrs Brooks, also a former News of the World (NoW) editor, is expected to be asked about her close relationship with Prime Minister David Cameron and his predecessors.
The current PM is said to have texted Ms Brooks to express sympathy when she was forced to quit.
Mrs Brooks was NoW editor when voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s mobile phone were allegedly intercepted.
The phone-hacking scandal at the Sunday tabloid led to its closure and the establishment of the Leveson Inquiry, an MPs’ inquiry and the launch of three police investigations.
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Rebekah Brooks has been described at the inquiry as a powerful personality.
At a hearing which is determined to be neutral, she’s likely to be asked about her relationships with Tony Blair – the papers she ran backed him through three elections; and Gordon Brown – she was once Mr Brown’s guest at a pyjama party at the prime minister’s country residence.
Mrs Brooks’ account will turn from historically interesting to potentially politically potent when she deals with the current prime minister.
There have been suggestions he texted her up to 12 times a day and told her to “keep her head up” after she resigned last year.
The veracity of such claims will soon be clear.
So too, the damage if any that the testimony of Rebekah Brooks will inflict on the standing of David Cameron.
Mrs Brooks has denied any knowledge of phone hacking on her watch.
Questioned by MPs in 2011, she said News International had acted “quickly and decisively” in dealing with the hacking scandal.
She said she had never sanctioned payments to the police.
Mrs Brooks was arrested on 17 July 2011 over phone-hacking and corruption allegations.
She was released on bail and re-arrested on 13 March 2012 on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
She was bailed again to appear at a London police station in May 2012.
Inquiry lawyers will not be allowed to ask Mrs Brooks any questions that could prejudice the police investigation into phone hacking or any future trials.
On Thursday, Mrs Brooks’s friend and former NoW colleague Andy Coulson told the inquiry he held shares in News Corporation worth £40,000 while working as the prime minister’s press chief.
The former NoW editor resigned from his Downing Street role in January 2011 amid a row about phone hacking at the NoW.
In his witness statement, he said he only considered a possible conflict of interest over the shares after he quit.
He also denied there was any “grand conspiracy” between the government and the media.