tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN May 11, 2012 8:00pm-10:30pm EDT
delivers the commencement address at barnard >> former news international chief executive rebekah brooks testifying. then president obama talks about his home ownership initiative in -- nevada. then the competition with gary johnson. -- a presentation with gary johnson. next, rebekah brooks testifying before a british panel examining the relationships between politicians and the british press. as well as the culture and practices of the media. she discusses e-mails and text messages between prime minister david cameron and other conservative party and labor party leaders. last year, rebekah brooks testified before a british parliamentary committee investigating an alleged phone hacking scandal. she was arrested last july on suspicion of conspiracy and
corruption and arrested again in march 2012 on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. the criminal investigation is still pending. >> the other witness today is rebekah brooks. thank you. >> i swear that the evidence i shall give will be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. >> your full name, please. >> rebekah mary brooks./ >> please identify the two in front of you.
the second of may of this year. the principal focus is on the second statement. the time line of your career -- tell me if i make any mistakes. you joined news international in 1989. but then to 1995, you were appointed deputy of "news of the world." 1998, deputy editor of "the sun." may 2000, editor of "news of the world." is that right? >> yes. >> degenerate 2003, at -- january 2003, editor of "the
sun." can be clear of the dates. with the announcement of your employment in june 2009 when he took on the job formally in september of 2009. >> that is correct. >> then resigned on the 17th of july 2011. >> the 15th. >> 15 of july. >> so we are come -- clear. you are under police investigation in the context of operation wheeting and allegedly perverting the course of justice. is that true? >> i am grateful to you for the care you put into the statements he made. i am conscious of the difficulties facing you. >> may relate to documents
regarding e-mails and text messages. can i ask you to look at paragraph 30 on page 02577. you have had reference to a diary kept by a former pa. is it an ordinary desk diary or an alistair campbell typed diary? >> definitely not. diaries.pa's old desk the appointments in there are not the complete picture. i have done my best to give a schedule but it is more of a flavor than precise. >> the schedule appointments is not a narrative of what was discussed on any particular case. you said you have had no access
to your work since were fired -- to your work emails. however the ones that are on your desk that he saved -- doesn't follow that your work e- mail account was lost to you in some way? >> i think it was blocked on the day i left. >> can you tell us when those events occurred? >> mica blackberry -- my blackberry was by my legal team. it contained a think about six weeks of e-mails and about a month of text messages. but we had to relish them and we had some problems with that request approximately when was a blackberry returned?
>> i think about three weeks later. maybe longer. >> can you give us a month? >> in july, 2011. >> so we have as you explain e- mails and texts which come mark -- cover a limited period. you see the 17th of july or the 15th. >> i think it was the 17th. >> you also confirm there is nothing of relevance to the inquiry in your private account. is that right? >> that is correct. >> in e-mails he might have had with politicians were three-year work e-mail account? what's that is correct. >> text message contact with politicians would have been on your work blackberry? no other mobile phone?
okay. i have been asked to put to this question -- whether any e-mails or texts to mr. cameron on a blackberry at the time you left news international? >> no. although one will make up the image back. there was one that was compressed. in june but there is no content in it. >> so it is a complete mystery of what it might contain? did you receive messages of commiseration or support from politicians in july, 2011 in particular? >> some. >> directly or indirectly? >> remini indirectly. -- mainly in directly.
>> been able to assist us with from home you received such messages? >> i had indirect messages from politicians but nothing direct. >> the indirect ones, who were the politicians? but it variety. -- what some variety. if you labor politicians. -- a few labour politicians. >> can be more specific? >> are received -- i received indirect messages from number 10, no. 11. foreign office. about're talking secretaries of state, prime minister yuri >> and also people who worked in those offices as well. >> labor politicians? how about them?
>> there were very few. >> mr. blair. did he send you one? >> yes. >> it has been reported in relation to mr. cameron that you received a message of support along the lines of keep your head up from mr. cameron and directly -- indirectly. >> along those lines. i do not think those were the exact words. it was not direct. >> did you also receive a message from him via an intermediary -- sorry i could not be [unintelligible]
but they had me on the run or words to that effect? >> is similar but very indirectly. >> broadly speaking, that message was sent to you? do you know how these messages to enter the public domain? >> we have a strong free press to have great access to politicians. >> you cannot be of any more particular clarity than that? mr. cameron said publicly we all got too close to news international. did he communicate that to you personally? >> no. >> mr. murdoch.
we know he told the house of lords communications committee back in 2007 when he was spoken to in new york that he was a traditional proprietor who exercise editorial control on major issues. you agree with that or not? >> yes. >> doesn't apply as much to the "news of the world" as th"the sun.:" >> i think mr. murdoch is probably more interested in "the sun" and terms of political issues but it also apply "news of the world." >> your evidence -- question 146, i think it would be said that before any appointment, he
knew me pretty well. you stand by that? >> before my appointment to the sun." of "the >> he would be aware of my views, social, political and cultural. do you stand by that? then you said take europe, for example. i think he was aware of my views. >> yes. >> without delving into this with great detail, your views on europe -- you were skeptic? and politically your position is very similar to mr. murdoch's?
>> in some areas. >> in which areas to they differ? next we disagreed about quite a few things. more in margins of it rather than the principle. the environment, dna database, immigration, celebrities in the paper obverses serious issues, the design and headline, the size of font. we had a lot of disagreements but in the main, big issues we had some agreements. >> on the amount of celebrity versus serious issues, where did you stand on that? >> i like more celebrity and he wanted more serious issues. >> why did you want more
celebrity? >> i thought the readers were quite interested in -- you only have to look at the viewing figures of bbc to see that the celebrity programs, the reality programs do well. i took from those figures that our readers were quite interested in that. he thought it was too much of it. >> and not going to pry into cultural views too much. are you a strong believer in human rights? >> not particularly, no. in its form, obviously the existence, obsolete. but there were parts of the campaign against when i was the -- the conservative party was going to appeal it. but i think that has now been
dropped. >> be may come back to that. -- we may come back to that. >> in 2000, was that mr. murdock plaza decision? >> i was actually told by les hinton that i was going to be editor. i did not speak to mr. murdoch until after that. i think it was les hinton's strong recommendation. i did not speak to mr. murdoch until i had action taken the job. >> we had some discussion in october in relation to the departure of mr. hall. >> i was not at "the sun" at the time. >> with the editorial line he took in relation to "the sun"
reflect mr. murdoch's thinking? >> it really is important to differentiate between mr. murdoch also thinking, my thinking, the political thinking and the thinking of the readers. i know i spent a lot of time in my witness statement to get across the point that it was the readers views that were always reflected in any policy or political party. i know mr. murdoch when he gave evidence said if they want to know what i think, read the "sun" editorial. >> those were the exact words he used. it was a response to levenson.
>> i do not think it was liberal. >> why not? >> there were a lot of things in "the sun" that would not reflect his views on request at that he met on the big point -- meants on the big point. >> paragraph 12 of your witness statement. you give a little thumbnail sketch of what "the sun" is, what it represents. he said of a particular social class. sometimes the relationship between the paper and its readers reflects a national conversation. if you wanted to know what the nation was talking about, you would look at "the sun." but some would say if you want to know what mr. murdoch was thinking, look at the sun and
then you are saying if you want to know what the nation is thinking about, read the sun. which one is correct? >> the one in my statement. i believe it. >> what do you mean by the nation? >> i think if you except that "the sun" for many years has been the biggest selling the skipper in the country -- nwespaper in the country. a think about five years ago and maybe longer in circulation terms. you have a huge readership. i do not know what the exact figure is today but we always use 8 million. the paper next to that is 6 million. i am basing it on such a large percentage of the bridges population who would come in contact with "the sun." they may not read it every day
but it would come in contact with it at some point or another. >> it seems the nation is monolithic or homogeneous which it is not. the bigger the readership is, it might be the more diverse its views are. d.c. that point? >> i do. i made it later on in my with the statement. this has been touched on through the inquiry. broadcast media have become more influential and important. in --per's circulation newspaper circulation in the printed form is declining. it was meant to say if for example no the conversation in the past or at work during the majesty united clash, that conversation would be talked about and that was that -- that is what i meant about national conversation.
>> a reflection of the sort of debate which he would hear in any -- you would hear in any pub but not a reflection of the individual collected use of the readership. is that a fair description? >> not particularly. >> i am leading into paragraph 15 and the myth which she seemed to explode -- explored. that is pipper editors are not elected -- that news paper editors are not elected. who elected you? >> we are not elected officials. >> you are saying it is a myth but it is the truth, isn't it? >> newspaper editors, if you who
them -- if you view them as that. i view them as journalists. >> isn't the point you're really making not so much about an unelected force? one could talk about unelected whatever but it is that you're shaping and changing government policy to suit your own interests? that is the myth you are really talking about. >> that was also a focus, yes. >> that there is no doubt or perhaps he would disagree that newspaper editors are a powerful force. they have a voice. >> i understand what you're saying. i think what i'm trying to say is that particularly newspapers
like the "sun" -- your power is your readership. it is not an individual power. i think that is really important. i think someone said if he fell under a bus, the power of his office would go. adding to his point, i think that the sun, the reader's are the most powerful. their interests we try ending date in. i do not see -- i cannot remember what the question was but i was more reacted to the fact that every day, the readers cannot elect us. >> we have heard that several times. i think we discussed this yesterday.
in the extent to which editors are reactive and to which they can in fact lead opinion. they have to reflect the overall position of their readership. they cannot go out on a limb when they know readers will not follow them. but they are in a position to lead opinion. would you agree with that? >> you can present issues to the leadership. -- readership. >> when you present issues, were the assurgent ben -- a certain spin? >> depending on the paper. i would not say "spin." i would say attitude. >> for perspective, then. you mentioned the "sun" was
enacted to rather than a particular social class. -- an attitude rather than a particular social class. we talked about the -- with your evidence be similar to his or difference regarding the amount of contact discussion? it was on saturday evening or less often than that. >> i am sure that is right. >> he was interested in the big stories? >> occasionally. yes. mr. murdoch also contact with "news of the world" was much more limited than "the sun."
>> when he became editor of "the sun" in 2003, ecb believes that mr. murdoch was instrumental in your appointment -- you say you believe that mr. murdoch was instrumental in your appointment? >> yes. that is true. >> how often did he speak to you when you were editor? roxbury frequently. -- >> very frequently. sometimes it could be every day. sometimes something else was going on and around the world and it could be less than that but very frequently. >> even when he wasn't in the country? >> mainly when he was not in the country, yes. >> it is said you had a close
relationship with mr. murdoch. he said that you used to swim together when he was in london. is that true? november 2005, do you recall that you were arrested for alleged assault on your ex- husband? >> i do recall that. i think you had been to the 42nd birthday party that evening. >> i do not know if it was that date but yes. >> other members of the murdoch family would have been there? >> i cannot remember. not particularly but. >> mr. rupert murdoch was there? >> no, he was not. >> is said that you kept waiting
for a breakfast meeting the following morning. is that true? >> no. >> and he sent a dress to the police station? >> that is not true. where is it fun -- from? >> various sources. >> you need better sources. >> they are all in the public domain, actually. it may be leading up to a question much later on in relation to all of it. there is evidence of a 40th birthday party for you at mr. murdoch also house. where politicians there? >> some. >> were mr. cameron and mr. blair there? >> it was a surprise party. i know mr. blair was there.
i am not sure if mr. cameron was. possibly. there are several stories as to what the birthday present was but i will not ask you. >> you have asked me if i had been swimming with mr. murdoch. please ask me about the birthday present. >> no, i will not. in 2006, you were appointed chief executive international. >> 2009. i discussed the appointment with james and rupert murdoch. was it rupert murdoch's idea? >> i think it was more james in the beginning of both of their ideas. >> what was that job of interest to you? >> i think i had been editing for some seven years by then.
i was interested in looking at the future of economic models of journalism. and how you continue financially to keep high-quality journalism going. i think the digital age in the ipad were all of interest to me. something i was looking forward to doing. mr. marion was a replacement. i think he was your recommendation? why? >> he had been my deputy for a few years so i had seen the paper that he edited in my absence and also i attended a few more business management programs in the last year a
couple of modules and internal- meant -- internal management programs. i thought he was doing a very good job. >> and terms of the general political perspective where you stood compared to mr. murdoch, did he stand in the same place? >> domenic is not entirely the same as i am or mr. murdoch. but then none of us are -- we all have different shades of gray. >> the same color, though. is that right? >> not necessarily. >> july 2011, were you embarrassed when mr. murdoch indicated you were his priority? >> are you referring to the -- in the street?
>> north dakota. >> i was not at the time because i did not think that's what's -- >> indeed. >> i was not at the time because i did not think that what he was referring to. i took that to mean he meant as in this issue. it was only the next day when i saw how it could have been interpreted in the papers. i was not embarrassed at the fact at first. >> relationships with politicians. chemical back to mr. blair -- can we go back to mr. blair. paragraph 53 of your statement. you say you met him on numerous political and social occasions. these meetings increased in frequency throughout the decade
as prime minister. many formal and informal and social meetings, some of which we have been able to detail. you also spoke to him on the phone on a number of issues. so you have very frequent contact or contact which became frequent? >> i think it became more frequent when i became editor of "the sun." that would go for most politicians. obviously you heard from mr. murdoch. mr. blair flew out to a news corp. conference in 1995. i probably met him shortly after that. then he obviously -- and they were in power for 10 years. >> so there was not a key moment.
did you find your contact with politicians generally increased from 2003 on? >> yes, i would say so. >> it is also clear that he became friendly with mr. blair. >> yes. >> were there text and e-mail exchanges? >> he did not have a mobile phone. i think he used the computer when he was prime minister. >> so all the telephone contact is on the land line? in the same paragraph, his senior cabinet advises were a constant presence in my life for many years. why do you think that was? >> i think they made sure it was. i was biunique -- was not
unique. i think you have to look at mr. campbell's appointment. he came from a political editor of the "daily mirror." anti put a huge -- and he put a huge story in newspapers. i think they made a shift change from major government into trying to get as much access to the press as possible. millions of books have been written about that, so. >> it is you as an editor reacting to the politicians' wishes? >> no, not at all. >> the impetus on your narrative is coming from the
politicians, not from the press. which is correct? >> i think the point of new labor embracing the media at a different way was because they felt they had a very big story to sell. they had a big story to tell about the changes they wanted to make or had made to the labor party. on the side of the press, we are journalists and access to politicians who can tell us things that we do not know, i explain things that are going on, tell us policy being developed -- all those things we can report back to our readers. that is the job of the journalist terry >> your job is to hold politicians to account, you tell us. how can you do that if they are a constant presence? >> easily. you can find that -- find out easily what is going on in holding account for it. we think every journalist and
newspaper does that all the time on behalf of its readers. >> if a line is crossed or an antipathy develops, is that in danger of being abused? >> i think if a politician or a prime minister ever put a friendship with a major executive or a media company in front of his or her ability to do their professional duties properly, that is their failing. i think if a journalist ever compromised their leadership for their role through friendship, that is their failing. i think that is simply put. >> tony blair and new labor were parker lee masters of span.
what steps did you take to counter act that? >> i think gordon brown was in master spend more than alistair and tony blair. i think the whole of new labor engaged in a new way with the media when they came to power. >> what steps did you take to counteract that? think in the journalistic story or a line from a politician and repeats it verbatim without checking it or analyzing it. it will of a journalist is not to just gather information but to analyze and process that information. >> but hubert on his side, he made that clear -- but you were on his side.
you made that clear a few minutes ago? >> when you back a political party in the way some did in 1997, i was not there then but i was a close observer. i do not think you back them wholeheartedly. i think if you look at the "sun "from 1997 until when tony blair left, you would be quite confused if it was supporting the party particularly on europe. but other issues as well. >> you speak to it in your statement. you were on mr. blair's side, were you? >> you are talking about the hostilities between gordon brown and tony blair? >> you were talking about in your statement. >> and what was the question?
>> you were on mr. blair's side? >> what i said in the statement was that in the latter years, there has been much better political commentary on this but in the latter years, tony blair's prime ministership, the hostilities between him and gordon brown got increasingly worse. it did become a tony blair camp and a gordon brown camp. on particular issues, for example, the welfare reform bill. if first try to get through in 2004. hostilities between the two were such that it did not get through that time. so you would have an inside how the hostilities were affecting
the way to govern. so you would have an opinion on them. on the side of the readers. it was not an automatic given that alistair campbell or charlie were telling you the truth. it was our job to judge and analyze it. >> was your relationship with mr. brown on the same level? >> i was actually friends with several brown =-- sarah brown. >> say you were more friendly with mr. blair that mr. brown? >> by the end, yes. not at the beginning. as mr. murdoch said in his testimony, he had a warmer relationship with mr. brown and i would see gordon brown quite regularly as well. >> we may come back to this but
in relation to this huge -- fued, he took the side of mr. blair, not mr. brown? i think you have to state which part of the feud. for example, in the famous curry house coup, i think we did take mr. blair's side. the country was almost on ice because of the hostility. i felt an injustice on behalf of our readers because policy was not getting through. but not always. >> but most of the times? >> i am reluctant to agree because i am not quite sure it is true. but at the end, we were on the
side of mr. blair. >> in the fair interests of your readers, he maintained impartiality between them? mr. brown and mr. blair? >> i did not quite understand the question. >> he did not take either person's side -- you did not take inyvette person's side. -- either person's side. >> we were a newspaper looking after the real serious concerns of our readers. it was not that we were -- i would stand in one corner of the playground. it did not work like that. every story, every feud, every
mediation at the time was analyzed by the media in a just and proper way. >> is it true that in exchange for generalally speaking supporting mr. blair, the son would [unintelligible] >> i would like to think we were the first. but we did get lots of scoops. not all of them were particularly pleasant. >> some of them were? >> trevor and i had some good sources.
>> those close to mr. blair himself or your good sources? you look at the schedule of meetings with british prime minister's. tab 3. you put in a revised version. >> ok. >> we need to be clear about this. you are not putting this forward necessarily as 100% complete. to include the documents you told us about, the diary. >some meetings have been canceled, some might not have been included. >> that is correct. >> we know from mr. campbell's
diary that there was a dinner on the 27th of april, 1997. mr. blair, mr. campbell. four days before the famous collection of the first of may, 1997. do you recall that? let's not particularly but i am sure it is correct. we were following mr. blair's last conference on education in the paper. i think it was to do with that but i cannot remember. >> you were going to be discussing what was then let it happen in the huge victory for the labor party. >> that was 14 years ago. i know there was a meeting at an
education rally. it might be in one of the same things. >> when we see an injury like tony blair launched does that mean just ham or can it mean -- an instance like tony blair lunch does that mean just him? >> the come into the newsroom and sit down with the editor and senior executive and discuss issues of the day. i think a lot of those would have been in that format. >> how does it work in restaurants? just mr. blair are other people? >> in 1999, i doubt that very
much. i have probably better notes at news international. >> use your memory. reticulate 2003, 2007. -- particularly 2003, 2007. >> like everybody, i will probably have a better recollection of 2003-2007 and 1999. >> i was asking about 2003. in particular entry. whether a dinner with the prime minister in the restaurant was one on one? >> i think during that time from memory i had about three dinners with mr. blair on my own. we see one dinner at the home of
matthew and elizabeth murdock. one would be led to believe they were frequent occasions when mr. blair went with you to the home. is that correct cannot? >> no, 1. >> you can only remember one >> , what is your question? i will have seen mr. blair probably much more sense to left office in their company but on occasion, yes, he was there. informally? spontaneously? >> no. you say on occasion. can you give us a feel for the number of occasions?
when he was prime minister. >> quite a few. >> a handful then? >> maximum, yes. >> can we look at the elections of 1997, 2001 and 2005. with the support of your newspaper, the subject of a prior discussion with mr. blair or his advisers? >> i have no idea. -- for 1997. not in 2001. that i can remember. but in 2005, it was a very difficult time for the labor party. i think, i am pretty sure it was
michael howard who was leader of the opposition at that time. so "the sun" at the time, we were very even-handed during that election process. in giving equal weight to all party policies. so i am not sure we particularly had a conversation with the labor party back then. >> in 2005, "the sun" did support the labor party. it changed of course in september 2009 but the question was, was the fact that "the sun" supported a conversation prior held with mr. blair? >> it would not be that way. a think in 2005 -- i think in 2005, "the sun," we left it
right to the day. i think we erected a vatican style chimney on the roof. whatever colored smoke -- sorry. it was funny at the time. clearly lost in translation. we had red and blue smoke. i am not sure we could find in a yellow smoke at the time. we clearly would have needed it now. i remember being on the ruth -- roof and looking down and seeing all the press guys they're waiting for the color to come out. i did not see mr. blair standing there.
>> that was not a question. a subjectun'" support of a prior discussion? >> no, i do not remember having a prior discussion. vatican chimney, we did not tell anyone until we got to the roof what color was coming out. what did you at least make it clear to mr. blair and his advisers before the election which aspects of labour party policy would be less or more acceptable to your readers? >> there was not a particular discussion about policy but it would be fair to say that leading up to the 2005 general election, there was a huge debate on the next stage of the european constitution. "the sun," "the daily mail" --
to gordon brown's chances of becoming prime minister. >> is there a date on this? >> no, it was printed on line but we know it was 2005. mr. blair and tends to lead labor for five more years. was that the outcome of a conversation between you and mr. blair? >> i think the byline -- it is not printed on here. trevor and i have good sources. >> i think he can tell me whether it was mr. blair himself, if he planted this in "the sun" with your help? >> i did not think i can tell you that at all.
although i do remember this story. i think sometime a dented 2004 -- in 2004, gordon brown felt he had to come to an agreement that he would step down before the 2005 election then some point in 2004 during the summer when they came back from recess, i think tony blair changed his mind and trevor and i had heard about it. we asked everybody and we got that story. >> it is also suggested that you passed on material intelligence gained from your few dinners with gordon brown to tony blair. is that true or not? >> he suggested that?
what's it does not matter. at the same way you are not telling me your sources, i will not share my with you. >> no, it isn't. and i think your source might be john press got. -- john prescott. and it is not true. >> completely untrue? >> not true. >> you can see from the schedule of rnb1 that you had much less contact with mr. brown when he was prime minister then you had with mr. blair when he was prime minister. would you agree? >> he was not by minister for very long. and in 2009, "the sun" came out and contact was very limited after that. >> in march 2009, the was a
phone call and that was the last contact you recorded? >> can i check that date? >> do you see that one? >> i cannot but anyway, i am not sure that is true. >> unless the diary is incomplete. >> the diaries are very incomplete. i do want to make this point. i would have seen gordon brown between the 30th of march 2009 and i saw him at the labor party conference in december -- september 2009. i remember at least one occasion. i am sorry but they are just my pas's desk diaries. >> after the 30th of march
2009, suddenly moving towards the conservative party, wasn't it? >> i think the petition at the time was not an overwhelming asset support for the party but more -- we had a few major issues in which we had on behalf of our readers particularly in afghanistan a falling out with gordon brown's government. and i think around march 2009 may have been a bit later, that is when gorton brown announced that the referendum that had been promised in the 2005 manifesto on the european constitution, they were going to make on that conference -- go back on that.
"the sun" called for a snap election in autumn 2009 because the referendum was a hard fought battle. the population by far wanted that referendum. so we had a falling out with each other but i still saw him on that day. >> that was not really the question at all. march 2009, "the sun" was moving towards reporting the party? >> is that true or not? correct. >> that is not the way i would describe it. we were running out of ways to report mr. brown's government. >> moving towards withdrawing support of the labor party? could we agree on that? >> we could. >> could i ask about one
communicated with you. if you had millions of readers, how are you identifying their views, or are you reading the ruins of what you believe the correct approach this -- i am trying to find the balance here. >> yes, i think in the european campaign, which had been a long tradition at the time. since the census in the 2009, we were short where our readers were on that matter. we had done polls in the
europe. i do not remember having a particular line in the papers about leadership. >> mr. paulson was in charge of communications in may of 2007. can you recall when you first heard about it? >> i heard about it from him after he had met with george osborn. i was then told that he got the job. >> what was your reaction to that piece of news? >> i probably said well done. >> how did you feel about it? >> he had to resign from the news of the world, and he had found another job, one that he
i think the idea was organized by at no. 10. i knew he was coming, but the arrangement was made through mr. murdoch's office and no. 10. >> were you consulted at all? >> no. >> you were there increase on holiday with the murdoch family and there was nothing more to it. >> it was for elizabeth murdoch's birthday. >> you presumably met with mr. cameron on that occasion. >> i did. >> do you remember how long he stayed? >> i think it was an afternoon
and an evening. >> were you aware of the conversations that took place or not? >> i was witness to one of with mr. murdoch about europe. in very general terms. then he had subsequent other conversations. >> it was not a sort of formal sit-down conversation, however the one i was witness to happen to be there when we were talking about europe. was this -- >> was this an
occasion you were pleased about or not? >> it seemed like a very cordial meeting. it lasted an afternoon or an evening so it was not particularly long. >> by that point, you were quite friendly with mr. cameron were in the decks >> yes. >> we know that he attended a new year's eve with you. >> it was my sister-in-law's party. >> they had a family
relationships before i came along. >> are you accepting that mr. cameron became your friend? >> yes. looking further down this list, in may of 2009, from that. of course there is no evidence that your meeting with mr. brown, although you did say that your list may not be complete in relation to mr. brown. >> i know it is not complete i am also not sure the they had a formal or informal meeting. i am pretty sure that if they had they would be meeting at downing street with mr. brown
from that. in may right up until september. >> a topic of conversation on may 3, 2009, did it cover political issues? >> it would have in general terms. there were probably lots of other people there at the lunch. >> i am not quite sure that my memory is correct, but i believe the european constitution debate was at large as was afghanistan at the time. >> we know that on the ninth of september 2000 and nine, mr. james murdock told mr. cameron that the sun would support the
conservative party of the next election this headline was on the front page in september 2009. when did you first know that that shift would take place? >> to the conservative party? >> yes. when did you first know that shift would take place? >> if we put aside the timing of it, i think probably in the june mid 2009. i think by that stage it was post a campaign for election,
the point of it was there did not seem to be one a senior politician including the prime minister who was willing to take tress the issues the military were phasing out there. >> the question was simple? >> that was it in a nutshell. >> was there any part of the discussion about who they would like to win in the election? >> back in june, was that it was more that we had lost things to
support gordon brown some government and what did that mean. they were very initial discussions in june. >> was there any part of the decision based on the who was likely to win the next election. >> i am not sure who the polls are at the time, but it was much more in that summer about our leadership and where they stood in terms of the politics of the government. bank bailouts had been the year before, and the recession was one of the issues that our readers were concerned about. the main point of the summer was
that we had not written one editorial in support of the labor government for quite some time. it was not as clear-cut as -- a >> the question was any part of the discussion related to who was likely to win? >> in general terms, but i cannot remember what the polls were at the time. >> from your perspective, you were interested in who was going to win. >> one of the most interesting things about its readership is the amount of voting voters. if you are a mirror journalist, you are tied to labor.
i think the floating voters are quite important. the overwhelming feedback from the readership at that time was that they were very unhappy with what they had. >> there was also a dinner in the september of 2009, can you remember if anyone else was present? >> i cannot. there would have been other people from the office present.
not particularly that one. >> was there any discussion as to the timing of the changes? >> no. >> did mr. cameron and know the timing? >> probably he knew that it was with and a period of time that you referred to with james murdoch, that it would happen. >> can we see how specific you can be. >> what was he told?
>> they had a discussion which is this is what they will probably do. the timing was a matter of discussion with the political scene there. the timing conversation was not with david cameron or his advisers. were you responsible for the timing of the decision. >> in terms of the conference season, yes. >> i was certainly instrumental
in it. ultimately, of rupert murdoch is the boss. as were others. >> you are the driving force behind it or not? >> i was instrumental, not the driving force. it was pretty collective in terms of everyone's view, particularly their readership that we were going to distance ourselves from the labor party that we have supported for many years. in terms of the timing it was quite a small group. >> and you are part of that small group? >> yes. >> the timing was careful.
it was designed to cause a maximum political damage, would you agree? >> the discussion on the time and was this, it would be terribly unfair at the start of the party conference to say that before hearing what mr. brown and the senior cabinet ministers had to set, and they could have come up with a fantastic policy for some readers or anything. it was unfair for us to go before. >> are you saying that mr. brown said something that caused you to change your minds and go back to plan a. >> we thought it was unfair to cloud a party conference in that way.
i think you heard from him yesterday that the conservative party would have liked the endorsement at the beginning of their conference. the sole reason for it was that we knew we were ready to do it, and his speech, he spent less than two minutes in afghanistan. that was the right timing in order to distance himself from it. i was talking about fairness
rather than that if it would affect the decision. they would probably not see it like bad. >> this was about how they would see the decision. >> the incredibly important decision that they made in the 1997 -- >> please keep to the question. >> the ancient history is quite important in this manner. if you are asking for an explanation. i think it was a very important decision and we gave it careful
consideration after years of labor support. >> the new it would anger certain people, didn't you? >> individuals within the labor party? >> yes. >> yes. >> did you sense in any way that this was an exercise of power concentrated in a small group of people within it news international? >> i do not think we ever saw it in those terms. >> i don't think we've ever seen it in those terms. >> rightly or wrongly, i have
believed that my main responsibility was to leadership. any influence that we would come to bear on their behalf was at the most important thing. that was just the way it was. we did not see it like that. we knew there would be certain individuals in the labor party who would not be happy with that decision. >> our responsibility was to mr rupert murdoch. you were instrumental to use your term. was he can should be adding much to this debate? >> yes he was. all five of you in different ways exercising power, would you
agree? arcs a think on the part of us and the political editor, the journalists -- we were all of a mind that this was the right thing to do. we just did not see it in those terms, so i am sorry. >> you don't see the in truism of the dissemination of power from within a few people capable of impacting the opinions of many people. >> i can see how you might phrase it like that from our perspective the sun newspaper has in its history always done
my main concern was to fix mr. brown. >> i felt that it was the right thing to do to speak to mr. brown before anyone else. as a general courtesy, and they were due to come to the news international party that night. i wanted to get a hold of them before that. >> i think a series was too strong a word, but i left a message. i certainly put a request in
earlier to speak to him. >> he eventually did speak to you didn't he? >> yes he did. >> there is a slight difference to the one word that we use that we better not go into. >> that is what they claim to have said. >> was the angry? >> depending on how you heard it could be quite an offensive word. he seemed quite angry. but not surprised. >> as you said, the town had been on favorable to the government.
>> yes. >> did you have any conversation after it september 2009? >> i did have a conversation with mr. brown and i think it was in october rather than that night or that week. >> so within a week -- >> know it was a few weeks after. >> why did it take you so long to speak to him? >> it was clear there was nothing more to say at that
point can you remember anything about that conversation? >> i remember it quite clearly. the sun that had run a letter that a mom had written about her son who died in afghanistan. the son had been particularly harsh to him over it. >> he rang me? >> can you remember anything about the conversation? >> it was quite tense. it was a private conversation, but the tone of it was very
aggressive. and quite rightly he was hurt by the projection and the headlines that had been put on the story. also in his defense, he suspected or thought that this might be a way in which the sun might be headed. i assured him it was a mistake and that this was not the way the paper was going to be paid. i had spoken to the editor or that morning very early on when i saw the headline and we had discussed it at length.
i heard that the sun coverage was going to be a personal attacks. >> atoms but politicians fear most isn't it? >> i think the fact that it resulted in such an extraordinarily aggressive conversation between me and mr. brown shows that a disney -- that it does not happen that much. >> a fear of personal attacks has been a factor in what politicians do or don't do.
i think that neil may feel that way about the sun, but i am sure that the paper does. i do not think it is concentrated on the personal -- occasionally depending on the story that could happen, we are concentrated on the issues and the policy of the campaign rather than attacking for the sake of personal attacks. i think he felt that that letter was purely personal attacks.
the whole point that we hold politicians to account on occasion has been found to be intrusive, but that is not the policy. i think when a newspaper oversteps the line, i have heard criticism of papers that i have edited and others. privacy is a hugely debated tok -- topic. >> it is also a manifestation of the power that the sun and other newspapers often see the personality of the added tours.
the fear is that the politician the parts from what the paper once there may be a personal attack. >> they are highly motivated and ambitious people i do not think it is fair that they live in fear of power. that would be like saying they are fearful of the leadership or electorate. it all flows out through the
influence of your company. do you see that? >> i accept it. -- i do not accept it. i do not think that. at not any. in the conversation did i think that if mr. brown quincy will go against the commercial interest of this company. >> that may not have flashed through your mind in the conversation, but when you reflected on that that would immediately sprang to your mind. although mr. brown had said those things to mr. murdoch, and
although i have heard similar insinuations from other close to mr. brown, there was a tone of threat about it. i just dismissed them i suppose. >> some would say that an elected government has a executive power conferred on it by amendment or buy through parliament into course would be quite in title to bring in media policies which it thought to be in the public interest. would you agree? of course it is proper for the government to debate and introduce policy on the media.
of course i agree with that. >> i am just trying to explore your thinking in 2010. you have here. in as your evidence that mr. brown was hot style to news international. and mr. cameron is not? is that correct? >> it was not hostile to the sun. >> how did that weigh in on your thinking? that is something you should be thinking about it, would you not agree? >> gordon brown is, if you accept the premise a responsible politician and who does not put personal bitterness before his policy- making decisions, then his
threats are pointless and should be dismissed. then that is failing in his duty because this unsupported the labor party for many many years. at the time, mr. brown and his colleagues would devote their time into carrying this out. >> it might have been part of the settlement for the labor party that the labor party would not intrude for our media policy and harm the interest for
international and other organizations. did that play a specific part in your mind? >> no. >> can i come back to mr. cameron. there is an absence of text messages which might have existed. >> yes that is correct. >> he said that he detected you at certain times up to a dozen times today, is that true? >> no. >> a handful? >> no. >> it is preposterous. i would tax tem on occasion like
a lot of people. >> can you give us an idea of frequency? >> probably more between at january 2010, on average once a week. >> a critical time was the election campaign from may 2010. can you give us an idea of frequency during that time? >> maybe twice a week. >> can you tell us the content of any of these text messages? >> some were from here -- about
a social occasion or a personal comment on a tv debate or something like that. >> how often do you think he met with them socially during this period? ignore the record. >> i am ignoring the record but it gives me a sort of refreshed memory. what was the period of time? >> the run up to the 2010 election which was on the sixth of may. how often would you meet with him or did you meet with him socially? >> i did meet with them between the january 2010 and the election. we would have met about three or
four times. >> what comments did you make on his performance in the television debate? >> i think like everybody i felt the first one was not very good. >> did you taxed at the other two party leaders or not? >> i did not taxed gordon brown, no. >> everybody wants to know how his texts are signed off. >> know.
>> no. >> did you often pop around to each other's houses? >> no. we occasionally met in the countryside because i was there every weekend and he was there with his constituency. >> was there a meeting ahead of which you tested each other to make sure you would not be seen together? >> my husband is chairman, and i think mr. cameron has been there as well. was the question did we meet
their? >> did you tax to each other before hand? >> there have been many meeting points over the years. is there a particular one? >> de remember this or not? >> which date? >> it was in the times on tuesday. it was a suggestion in the times that we did not meet. there was some reason that that was significant. if he did meet with anyone it was my husband. did you attend his private
hacking allegations against news international would mr. cameron at any time between the july 2009 guardians story and your departure from news international? >> yes i did. >> i wouldn't want you to say anything that bears on the current police investigation. in general terms, can you assist us as to the conversation? >> not very often, once or twice. because of the news of the phone hacking story, it was a constant that kept coming up. we would bring it up, but in the most general terms, we had a
more specific conversation about it in 2010. and it was what i remember rather than general terms. >> if it is a general conversation then it may relate more to mr. cameron and then at me. >> it was nothing particularly that was from the public, but he was interested in the latest developments about him. i told him the same thing i tell everyone, it was due to the amount of civil cases coming in that in 2010. >> the context must be that he
was concerned that this went be on, is that fair? >> >> yes. it was a general conversation in late 2010 about the increase in the civil cases. >> the inch -- increase of civil cases could only be an indication that this phenomenon was not limited. are we agreed? >> i think it news international has a knowledge that publicly. >> can you help us what what mr. kamen said? >> it was a general discussion about -- he asked me what the
update was. i explained the story behind the news. there was no privilege in permission, it was a general update. >> you are focusing on what you told him. i am concerned with what he might have said. >> i think it was about the civil cases. i responded accordingly. >> in any other instance? >> no. >> we are in the dark about what these compositions were about apart from the general.
there were a particularly around the civil cases of 2010. my answer is we did speak about it, very generally, but in late 2010, we had a more detailed conversation because if you go back in the chronology of the phone hacking situation, that is when civil cases were coming in and being made newsworthy. >> ok. on a different topic, you have been a close friend of elisabeth murdoch for over 10 years. >> longer actually, but yes. >> they have a country house and oxford shire as well, don't they? >> yes. >> how often have the ban in
their country home, your home in the country, or camerons constituency home and the company of other politicians? >> to distill that, how many times have i been in his home with other politicians? >> i am pretty sure i have never bend there. osborne wasgeorge present at dinner. only time at their house was her 40th in couple of years ago. >> the 40th party we've got
i do not know the full quiet list. i'm sure it would have represented lots of other areas. i did not know currently, but probably. >> i want to ask you some general questions. when we you made aware that this would be made? >> i think before the public announcement. >> before the general election or after do you think? >> i think it was before. yes. before. i cannot remember when the public announcement was, but i think it was shortly before. >> this was a big moment for
news corp. were there not discussions with either murdoch about the timing of the bid? >> i played no formal role in these transactions. the strategy of timing and all that kind of thing. i was i was made aware that it was on the cards, so to speak. >> they have this on his international as well. they had no news interest in it, why were you there? >> people were interested. at the time, the way it was presented to me i did not think
it is going to have an effect on "news international" >> you said you had no formal role. there is no reason why you should. what about informally? in here, as we have been discussing, you are extremely well connected to a very senior politicians across the range. that is part of your job. wouldn't your review as to how it might work out, how it might play is extreme value and formally, not formally? >> extreme value to news corp? >> to your ultimate boss. >> it was never quite put in
those terms. i do have an informal rule. after the formation, if you want to call this, this directly brought "news international" into what was a news corp reaction. it is in reliance with the daily then telegraph. once they form that alliance in ownand were using their news outlets, i probably did get involved. not in the deal or the
i am not sure it was of any value particularly. >> when you first made aware of the code name "rubicon." >> i think i was told about it. i may have heard before but i was told what that was. >> i am asking one that was. >> maybe a couple of months before. six or eight weeks before. >> someone who enjoys tactical
the birthday party. >> that was the private party. what about december 3, 2010 which we have some evidence about. >> it is discussed at that dinner. i am aware that it was mentioned. it was mentioned because it was in the news. >> were there 0 indications that he had acted in duty? >> not necessarily.
they have always been put to the. perhaps some personal prejudice that come into that decision. it is quite disappointing. it would bid along those lines. >> how favorable do you think this is? >> i have seen them occasionally. >> even informally, he put out feelers? >> i think he poses something on his web site saying that he was
quite favorable before the decision went to him. >> may be in it anyway. not from a direct conversation. >> it is a further occasion when you may have met with him on december 2010. >> i have been asked about it before. mr. cameron attended a boxing day party at my sister-in-law's. i popped and on the way to another dinner. i do not think i did even speak to him.
i would have seen him. not even to have a conversation. notreaturare you sure it would have covered bskyb b issue? >> i do not think it was a conversation. >> i would like to cover some subject matter conversations with politicians. seeking to ignore private in social matters. it is self evident this would increase the issues of the day. is that there? >> sometimes, yes. >> today also embrace issues such as media policy? >> very rarely.
there are some examples when they have met with a politician particularly to discuss that. >> the role of the bbc, was that often the subject? >> not particularly. in general, it wasted money was something we would address. i never really had a conversation. >> how about issues such as self regulation to be pressed? were those ever discuss with politicians? >> probably not enough.
when you ask me the question, i was reflecting on the fact that i could not remember a conversation with a politician where we did discuss bcc. the last couple of years, it has been the subject. >> the go before the index i think a couple of years is in danger of muddying the waters. i want to speak more generally. can you help us with that? >> i think after the operation, there was this general debate going on in the media in terms of, particularly in 2003 which was pretty much to the end of the use of private detectives in the way they have been for the last decade.
i think that was something it would have been discussed with the politician at the time. i suppose press ethics particularly came up with jack straw. i know that they had spent some time discussing the protection act. i think particularly, of the custodial ones. i remember that being a bit conversation with politicians. i probably only got involved in that quite later on. there was some discussion but not a great deal. >> you are friends with mr. blair. know felt.een no phelpwe was a sudden he discussed with the death squads on occasion, yes. >> quite often, perhaps.
>> not quite often. it is probably more that was discussed with me. what i am not interested in private discussions. i am interested in the wider ethics. what was the concern that is being concern to you in this context of? >> if you like, it was not press ethics. it was the tone. she was concerned that she felt a lot of recovery it was quite sexists. she is not the first high- profile female to think that about the u.k. media. that would come up on vacation. she sometimes felt it was quite kroll and personal about her weight requite kroll -- q uituie
cruel about her weight. i not sure that is what you were asking me. it is more tone. >> it may be parts of the picture. we know that mr. blair describes the press as a beast in 2007. was that a discussion in which she had reviewed? post a rock there was some conversation about the 24 our media. i think that is what he was referring to. it was always a constant need for a story. occasionally 24 hour news was mentioned in terms of iraq. i was surprised when you said
that. >> it speaks for itself. the press is there 24 hours a day. you have heard the way they behave. sometimes there are wild and off their leashes. >> user not communicate any of those concerns to you? -- he did not communicate any of those concerns to you? >> no. >> if they ever complained to privately about coverage of them? >> occasionally. if someone felt was unfair. you have a question earlier, i can remember how you phrase it.
on occasion, they would complain. tony blair would often complain about attitude to europe. they would regularly campaign about campaign so we're doing in t. i think our role was correct. it was held into account. >> ok. let's see if we can analyze the power play which may or may not be an issue here. it would be fair to say that you were very close to mr. rupert murdoch?
>> i was close to him, yes. >> he trusted you implicitly. >> ps. >> would you agree that politicians for what ever reason wanted to get close to mr. murdoch to advance their own interest? >> i think that a lot of politicians wanted to put their case there. i am sure most politicians have a view of what they were doing. >> this is totally selfish. i think we can agree or less where we are. this may be the more important point. in order to get close to mr. murdoch, they have to get close to you. would you agree? >> no. it is not true. >> would you agree that
politicians like to see that you had influence over mr. murdoch's? >> i certainly don't think that. i think i was an editor of a newspaper. with's a wide readership an exceptional percentage of voters. i do believe that like other editors in similar situations, they want to get access to the editor of "the sun." i do not think that people ever thought they would go through mr. murdoch. >> we will see if we can bring that down. politicians certainly wanted to get close to you. you were someone participating
or ehud? >> the s. that was well understood by any politician who cared to look. what i think they have a close relationship, yes. >> did you ever examined the modus and why they were wanting to get close to you? what are they trying to get close to me? >> i think i've always examines the politicians. i thought it was pretty obvious. i do not know a politician that would turn down a meeting or any newspaper.
it did not need a lot of thinking. this has been the same case for a decade. he put this in your opening statement in your model. >> you are in possession of the megaphone which should be a utility to them. in which they had access to my reader ship carrying. >> they are putting the case to me. perhaps this was an accidental by-product to build up fringes of politicians?
>> i think some friendships did occur. through the decades that i was a national newspaper editor, they say i was a journalist. i do not think i ever forgot i was a journalist. i do not think they forgot i was a politician. >> you did have a degree of personal power over politicians. >> i did. i did not seek it like that. i saw my role as a very honorablresponsible one.
i enjoyed my job in every part of my job. particularly i enjoyed campaigns. i enjoyed bridging a gap between public opinion and public policy of the ticking of concerns of the reader. -- of keeping the concerns of the reader. >> you are it an empathetic person. you understand how human beings feel. >> i do like people. journalists, and do try to be empathetic. >> you understand the potential of personal alchemy, how you can get people to do what you want. did you get any of that? >> i am not quite sure what we
mean. >> is there anything sinister here? i am talking about the power of he meant of it a. it is not lost on you, is it? >> i hope to be empathetic and like to people, yes. >> i just wonder where you sensed the effect you might have had on politicians. some may have been afraid of you. >> like they said, i do not see these politicians as easily scared. most of them are pretty strong, ambitious, and a highly ambitious.
>> us take one case study and see if there's any ability. you member the mechanics? >> yes. actually, we got his evidence and relation to this. >> we're working for the transcripts. >> yes. >> if you look at page 57, line 11, you talk about the meeting with rebekah brooks. >> there are not numbered in that way. >> they are. it says 15 at the bottom. >> thank you.
>> you talk about the meeting with the record but the threat to every view of your case. can you recall when that was? i think they are elaborating with that. news international bid for the rights. they would sterilizes this. there somewhat horrified of prospects given the way we have been spoken of. after much deliberation, we have a couple of meetings. what is one of the decisions. pausing there, there is going to
be sterilization and both the sunday times and the sun. i think this is the year of 2010 by which time you were executive officer. >> that is correct. >> what was the price they paid for the sterilization? can you remember? >> i cannot remember. hundreds of thousands. >> 1 million we have been told. >> it was not 1 million. i cannot remember. i am not sure it was made. >> to paraphrase, the cannot take this much further. take this much further.