LONDON: David Cameron signed off messages to tabloid editor Rebekah Brooks with an affectionate ‘LOL’, she told an inquiry today, conjuring the embarrassing image of a British prime minister-in-waiting fawning over a Rupert Murdoch protegee.
As editor of Britain’s most-read newspapers the News of the World and later the Sun, Brooks had the power to make or break careers and was courted for years by top politicians until she abruptly fell from grace in July 2011.
Appearing at a judicial inquiry into press standards, Brooks was pressed for details of her close friendships with successive British prime ministers, including Labour’s Tony Blair and Conservative David Cameron, now in office.
“Occasionally he would sign them off LOL, lots of love,” Brooks said in answer to a question on text messages she frequently exchanged with Cameron during the 2010 election campaign, when he was still in opposition. “Actually, until I told him it meant ‘Laugh Out Loud’, and then he didn’t sign them like that anymore,” she added, blushing to the roots of her signature bright red curls.
Her testimony at the Leveson Inquiry revealed she had met frequently with Cameron, lobbied key offices of government for the approval of a major Murdoch takeover bid and intervened in the long-running row between former Labour Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. “We were a newspaper that was looking after the real, serious concerns of our readers,” she said, glancing between her husband Charlie, the judge and the lead lawyer.