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Pressure grows on David Cameron to release 'secret' Rebekah Brooks emails

Labour says Downing Street must show there is no cover-up over News Corp messages

By James Cusick and Cahal Milmo

Pressure on David Cameron to release an undisclosed cache of private emails between himself and the former News International chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, increased yesterday as opposition politicians claimed it was now in "the public interest" for him to release all the emails and to end speculation of a Downing Street cover-up.

Letters to David Cameron demanding publication of the emails were being prepared by the shadow Culture Secretary, Harriet Harman, and by Labour's shadow Home Office minister, Chris Bryant.

They follow yesterday's disclosure by The Independent that Mr Cameron took legal advice from government lawyers which claimed the electronic exchanges with Mrs Brooks, and others to Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor and former Downing Street communications chief, were not "relevant" to the remit given to Lord Justice Leveson and therefore did not need to be handed over to the inquiry.

Downing Street did not deny the emails existed, preferring instead to focus on its "full co-operation" with the Leveson Inquiry. A Number 10 spokesman said: "We have co-operated fully with the inquiry and we are now looking forward to that report."

A number of Freedom of Information requests on the matter were sent to Downing Street. These included one from Mr Bryant, who is expected to confront Mr Cameron with a formal question at today's PMQs in the House of Commons.

The Bryant FOI addressed to Mr Cameron states: "Your office's responses thus far tacitly accept that such communications do exist and they have already been reviewed either by you or on your behalf." His FOI asks that all texts, emails and any form of communication between Mr Cameron and Mrs Brooks, Mr Coulson, and both James and Rupert Murdoch, since Mr Cameron entered Downing Street, be put in the public domain.

* The results of a new YouGov survey were sent to Lord Justice Leveson yesterday showing the public have a limited appetite for Britain's press being allowed to continue its regime of self-regulation.

The survey, commissioned by the "Hacked Off" pressure group, showed 78 per cent were in favour of an "independent body, established by law" to deal with press complaints.

Murdoch defiant at AGM

Rupert Murdoch has told investors that if they don't like the way he does business, amid fallout from the phone-hacking affair, then they simply shouldn't bother owning shares in his media empire.

The defiant message came as the 81-year-old tycoon faced-down a series of attempts to loosen his family's grip on the reins of power at News Corp during the annual meeting of the conglomerate in Los Angeles last night.

"There are plenty of media stocks to buy," he declared. "When you buy the stock, you know what the company is, if you read the articles. If you don't like it, don't buy the stock."

Guy Adams

Belfast Telegraph


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