Foreign Secretary William Hague has defended David Cameron's decision to invite Andy Coulson to Chequers as a "normal, human thing" after his resignation as Downing Street director of communications.
Mr Hague said he was not embarrassed "in any way" by the Government's relationship with News International executives and he defended the Prime Minister's decision to entertain Mr Coulson, the former News of the World editor, at his Buckinghamshire retreat in March.
Mr Coulson resigned from Number 10 in January as claims were growing about the extent of phone hacking under his editorship of the Sunday tabloid. Last week he was arrested - and later bailed - over the allegations.
Mr Hague told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "In inviting Andy Coulson back the Prime Minister has invited someone back to thank him for his work, he's worked for him for several years, that is a normal, human thing to do, I think it shows a positive side to his character."
Downing Street has also disclosed that Rebekah Brooks, who has resigned as chief executive of News International, received hospitality at Chequers twice last year, once in June and again in August.
Rupert Murdoch used adverts in national newspapers to apologise for the News of the World's "serious wrongdoing". A second advert will appear in newspapers on Sunday and Monday, outlining the steps that News International and parent company News Corp have taken to investigate and address previous wrongdoing and prevent it from happening again.
Meanwhile, Gordon Brown said he is referring to the police an emailed letter he had received from The Sunday Times challenging his allegations about the newspaper. In a statement, the former prime minister's office claimed that The Sunday Times had sought to "manufacture claims which were never made and to distort those that were".
Earlier this week Mr Brown claimed in the Commons that News International newspapers including The Sunday Times had illegally obtained information about him and his family.
In a statement, the newspaper said: "Mr Brown made serious false allegations last week that the Sunday Times paid 'known criminals' to work against 'completely defenceless people'."
Meanwhile, The Mail on Sunday confirmed that former news editor Sebastian Hamilton and ex-investigations editor Dennis Rice have been told by Scotland Yard that they may have had their phones hacked by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed in 2007.