David Cameron's memory
appeared to fail him as he gave evidence to
the Leveson Inquiry.
(Clockwise from top left) James
Murdoch, Prime Minister David
Cameron, Rebekah Brooks and Andy
Jay: In your dealings with third parties, to what extent, if ever,
did you offer an opinion which was not the
opinion of your minister, without making it
clear that it wasn't?
Cameron: Well, it's quite a long time ago, so it's hard to remember
all the interactions I had... On occasions
I'm sure I would have made clear to people
my own view about something, but I can't
think of particular instances.
Did he discuss the Information Commissioner's report on unlawful
data access at dinner with Paul Dacre, the
Daily Mail editor, in 2006?
Cameron: I don't remember, I'm afraid. I can't even remember where
the dinner was. I think also he's had dinner
in my home as well. The trouble with that
one is I can't remember where it was, let
alone what we talked about.
On meeting Matthew Freud and Rebekah Brooks on Rupert Murdoch's
yacht in Santorini
Cameron: My memory is it came together quite quickly. I seem to
remember I was on some tour day around the
country. I got a call or a text from
Matthew. I was just about to go off to
Georgia, to visit Georgia at the time of the
Russian invasion, and it just seemed like a
possible opportunity to link up and - but I
seem to remember it all came together very
quickly at the last minute. But I might have
got it wrong.
Jay: We know that Rebekah Wade was there, but did you have a
conversation with her about this before you
flew out or not?
Cameron: I don't recall that, I'm afraid.
On lunch with James Murdoch in 2009
Jay: Would you think it's possible on that occasion that you
discussed regulatory issues, including Ofcom
and the BBC?
Cameron: Well, I don't recall what was discussed directly at the
lunch. I'm sure that over the years I've
discussed some of those issues with James
Murdoch. He has very strong views on them, I
have very strong views, they're not really
the same views, and I'm sure we would have
had discussions about it. Perhaps
particularly -- well, I think probably on
both. I don't recall the specifics, but I'm
sure we must have discussed our views.
Jay: This was a few months before his MacTaggart lecture, which was
delivered in late August 2009. Did you have
any discussions with him about the subject
matter of that lecture, either before he
gave it or afterwards?
Cameron: Not to my memory, no. I think these would have been... you
know, as I say, most of these meetings were
really about me trying to promote
Conservative policy, the Conservative
approach and the rest of it, but sometimes
because I'm interested in media issues and
have longstanding views on them, sometimes
I'm sure we would have discussed them.
On lunch with Sun editor Dominic Mohan in 2009
Jay: Do you think on that occasion the issue of support of the Sun
for you and your party was discussed or not?
Cameron: I wouldn't -- I don't recall. By this stage obviously I
was making arguments that Sun readers were
coming over to the Conservatives and our
approach was what the country needed and all
the rest of it, but I don't remember the
specifics of that conversation, no.
On dinner with James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks in 2009, following
a drink with James Murdoch at which he said
the Sun would back Cameron.
Jay: Can you remember anything about where the political issues,
perhaps regulatory issues were discussed on
Cameron: I don't particularly recall what was discussed then, no.
Jay: But for support the upcoming support of the Sun is likely to
have been mentioned, isn't it?
Cameron: Yes. I think I'm trying to remember the exact date of the
Jay: I think we're onto about 27 or 28 September.
Cameron: Right. I expect that would have been discussed. In terms
of what the Sun was going to do, it was -
but I don't... I remember the drink, I
remember what he said about the Sun
supporting the Conservatives. I don't
particularly remember the dinner.
Jay: Rightly or wrongly, the Sun had timed it for maximum political
damage to Mr Brown's government, that goes
without saying. It seems at least plausible
again that that sort of point was discussed
on this occasion. Would you agree?
Cameron: As I say, I recall the drink, I don't recall the dinner.
On meeting Rupert Murdoch in December 2009
Jay: Can you remember anything about that conversation,
particularly about the change of support?
Cameron: Not particularly. I mean, in most of my lunches or
breakfasts with Rupert Murdoch, the
conversation has always been predominantly
about economic issues, security
geo-political issues, he was very interested
in what was happening in Afghanistan, very
interested in global markets.
On when Cameron realised Rebekah Brooks backed the Tories
Jay: When did you think Mrs Brooks was on onside? Six months, a
Cameron: I would have to go through my diary and try and remember
the... but I can't give you a date.
Jay: Not even a sense of when it might have been? Was it months,
was it weeks, was it years?
Cameron: I don't want to get it wrong. It certainly wasn't weeks.
It was I think more than that. But I can't
really give you any more than that.
Did Rekebah Brooks ask Cameron to open a police review into the
Maddie McCann case?
Jay: Were you asked by Mrs Brooks to support or indeed cause to
take place a review of the McCann case
within the Metropolitan Police?
Cameron: I don't recall the exact provenance of this whole issue.
What I remember is that I had a meeting with
Kate and Gerry McCann as Leader of the
Opposition, and anyone who's met them or
obviously read about the story, you can't
fail to be incredibly moved by what has
happened to them and all the efforts they've
made to try and get Madeleine back, and I
followed this up as Prime Minister, but I
can't remember the exact provenance of who
called who and when, and what have you, but
I think it was... the police clearly had
played a role in trying to keep the
investigation going, and the Government has
helped them with that.
Jay: But in terms of any interaction between you and Mrs Brooks,
was it drawn to your attention that Mrs
Brooks went to see two of your special
advisers, I think on 11 May?
Cameron: I don't recall. It might well have been. I don't recall
the exact conversations.
About hiring Andy Coulson, and what they asked him about phone
Jay: Mr Osborne's evidence was that he asked for and obtained
assurances. Were you aware of that?
Cameron: I don't recall, but if George says that, I have no reason
to doubt it.
Jay: You say that you are sure that you would have discussed his
appointment with Rebekah Wade. To be clear,
by this time, it's May 2007, would you have
counted her as amongst your friends?
Cameron: Yes. I think I would. As I say in the evidence, I can't
recall when I discussed it with her, whether
it was before, during or after, but I'm sure
I would have at some stage had a
conversation with her about it.
Jay: Can you remember how many conversations?
Jay: Sometimes discussions of these nature go into people's
character and integrity. Do you think you
had a discussion along those lines with Mrs
Brooks about Mr Coulson?
Cameron: I'm afraid I don't... I don't recall. But I think the most
important thing I would have wanted to know
is would he be good at the job.
Did David Cameron ask Andy Coulson about phone hacking by phone
while on holiday in Cornwall, or in person
at his office in Westminster, or both?
Cameron: My recollection is that I raised the issue of phone
hacking and sought the assurance in the
face-to-face meeting we had in my office.
That's my recollection. I vaguely remember
the further telephone call, but that's -
I've obviously racked my brains to try and
remember exactly the sequencing, but my
recollection is that I knew it was very
important that I needed to ask hinm that
question, and therefore did so, as it says
in my evidence...
When did Andy Coulson repeat his assurances about phone hacking?
Jay: And to be clear, the repetition of the assurance, was it
sought in a face-to-face meeting or phone
call or by some other means?
Cameron: To the best of my recollection, although it's very
difficult to do the specifics on this, the
best of my recollection it was because of
the impending Select Committee hearing, and
I think... obviously the embarrassment there
was that he was being taken through a Select
Committee hearing while he was working for
me, and it was in that context that I think
we had this discussion.
Jay: I'm sure it was in that context, but just the means of
Cameron: I don't recall.
Jay: Call him into your office, phone call, can you recall?
Cameron: I don't recall.
Why did Nick Clegg - and others - not want Andy Coulson around?
Jay: What was the basis if any for his concerns, at least as he
expressed them to you?
Cameron: As far as I recall, it was just, you know, there has been
controversy about this; are you, you know,
sure he's the right man for the job?
Jay: Did he elaborate on the controversy or not?
Cameron: I don't remember. I don't remember the conversation in any
great detail. I think it was just he wanted
to register the point.
Jay: Was it part of a wider conversation about other matters or was
it a conversation devoted to this one issue?
Cameron: I don't recall that. I think it was, I think, a specific
conversation. It may have been bound up in
us wanting to make sure that people were, as
it were, sort of Coalition-friendly, so that
may have been an additional concern.
Jay: Okay. Were similar concerns expressed to you directly by
anybody else, to the best of your
Cameron: Some people did have concerns. I can't remember exactly
who and when, but as I said, this was a
controversial appointment. I've read in some
of these books about a number of people who
have made these points, but I don't recall
many specifics, but clearly some people did
have concerns, yes.
Jay: And were they concerns expressed from within your own party?
Cameron: I think there might have been one or two, I think there
might have been a specific MP. That's not
something I recall directly, but something
that has been pointed out to me, but he may
have expressed concerns to me.
Jay: Did you have any private conversations with Rupert Murdoch in
2008 and 2010 about this issue?
Cameron: Not that I recall, no. I mean, I was very happy with Andy
Coulson's work, and I had been planning on
the basis that if we won the election, he
would come into Number 10 Downing Street,
and I don't recall any conversations with
Rupert Murdoch about it.
On the New York Times article of December 1 2010 that drew Andy
Coulson back into the hacking scandal
Jay: Were you made aware of it at the time or shortly thereafter?
Cameron: I can't remember the exact sequence of events that day,
but yes, I was made aware of it, and I think
the key point is that Andy Coulson directly
denied and a statement was put out on his
behalf by Number 10 Downing Street about
this accusation. So that, I think, is pretty
Jay: Although the accusation, which we can't go into in detail for
obvious reasons, related directly to him?
Cameron: That's right, yes, but there was an instant and immediate
Jay: You didn't return to him for any direct assurances, did you?
Cameron: I don't recall exactly the conversations that took place.
It was on the day I moved into Number 10
Downing Street after the birth of our
daughter, so that's the memory I have from
that day rather than anything around this,
but I'm absolutely clear he made an outright
denial and that was that.
On what Rebekah Brooks told him about phone hacking at the News of
Jay: Mrs Brooks told us in evidence that she had a conversation
with you about phone hacking, but not about
Mr Coulson, in late 2010. Do you remember
anything about that?
Cameron: I don't really remember the specifics. I saw in her
evidence that this was perhaps something to
do with me asking a question about some of
these civil cases and what was happening. I
suspect it could have been that. This was an
issue that was obviously being discussed. It
was a controversial issue with all the
several cases and the rest of it, and I
expect I could have asked some questions
about that, but I don't recall the
On what David Cameron knew about the BSkyB bid in 2010
Jay: Do you recall having discussions with Mr Osborne about these
Cameron: Well, obviously we discussed it on the day that Vince
Cable's remarks were made public, and so
there was a discussion what we were going to
do as a government to deal with that. In
terms of other discussions, I don't recall
any, but we discussed lots of things so I
wouldn't be at all surprised if we hadn't
talked about it in passing.
Jay: Are you sure in your mind that the date of the formal
announcement of the bid, which we know to be
15 June 2010, was the first you heard of it?
Cameron: That is my recollection. As I say in my witness statement,
I can see there was some press speculation
in advance of this, but I don't recall any
discussions about it or any knowledge about
it in advance.
Jay: As for the Culture Secretary, you say you don't remember any
specific conversations with him, but are we
to understand by that that it's possible
that in general policy terms the merits of
the bid might have been discussed with him?
Cameron: Well, I don't recall discussing it with him, but as I'm
sure we'll come onto, he did send me some
notes about it. But I don't recall specific
On the secret memo Jeremy Hunt sent to Cameron, supporting the
Jay: Is it the position that it was received on your email system
but you simply don't remember reading it, or
Cameron: No. It wasn't received on my email system. As I said,
really, the notes I get all go into my box.
The issue here is I don't particularly
remember this note, and crucially, I didn't
recall its existence on the day of 21
December when we were making this decision,
and I say that frankly. Obviously if I had
recalled it, I would have fed it into the
system, as it were.
Did Cameron discuss the BSkyB deal with the Murdochs in the lead up
to the bid being adjudicated?
Jay: You say you're confident that you had no inappropriate
conversations on this subject, including
with Rebekah Brooks and James Murdoch in
November or December 2010. Can we start off
by taking away the adjective "inappropriate"
and just say whether there were any
conversations at all on this subject?
Cameron: As I say here, I can't remember every conversation I've
ever had, but the point I'm making here is
that partly because I knew this was
controversial, I had... I wasn't involved in
making the decision anyway, but I'd gone
even further than that, and I put it here,
I'd recused myself from the decision
Did Cameron discuss the BSkyB bid with Rebekah Brooks at a Boxing
Jay: On Boxing Day, I think there was a picnic or something
similar. Everybody wants to know about that
as well, but only insofar as it's relevant
to our Inquiry. So was there a conversation
about the BSkyB bid on that day?
Cameron: No, I don't think there was. My memory is that Boxing Day
was actually at Charlie Brooks' sister's
house. There was a party, I think Rebekah
was there briefly. I don't think there was,
certainly I don't think there was, a
conversation about BSkyB. I'm not even sure
there was much of a conversation at all, but
that's my recollection.