Cameron texted Rebekah Brooks "a dozen" times a day

The PM's text exchanges with Brooks could soon be published.

Peter Oborne's excoriating column on the Tories and the Murdochs in today's Telegraph includes the revelation that David Cameron texted former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks at least 12 times a day. Oborne writes:

A fresh embarrassment concerns Rebekah Brooks, who providentially retained the text messages she received from the Prime Minister, which I’m told could exceed a dozen a day. These may now be published, a horrible thought.

If true, it evidences why David Cameron's upcoming appearance at the Leveson inquiry (he will likely appear in mid-June) could prove so embarrassing for the Prime Minister. Indeed, last week's Sunday Times (£) reported that Brooks is "ready to disclose any text messages and emails between herself and David Cameron if required." (Cameron reportedly signed letters to her "Love, David".)

It's easy to see how the news  of Cameron's daily contact with the striking Brooks (Tweeters are already quipping about her being his "Monica Lewinsky") could permanently reduce him in the eyes of the public.

David Cameron with former Sun editor and News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Grant Shapps on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty
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Grant Shapps resigns over Tory youth wing bullying scandal

The minister, formerly party chairman, has resigned over allegations of bullying and blackmail made against a Tory activist. 

Grant Shapps, who was a key figure in the Tory general election campaign, has resigned following allegations about a bullying scandal among Conservative activists.

Shapps was formerly party chairman, but was demoted to international development minister after May. His formal statement is expected shortly.

The resignation follows lurid claims about bullying and blackmail among Tory activists. One, Mark Clarke, has been accused of putting pressure on a fellow activist who complained about his behaviour to withdraw the allegation. The complainant, Elliot Johnson, later killed himself.

The junior Treasury minister Robert Halfon also revealed that he had an affair with a young activist after being warned that Clarke planned to blackmail him over the relationship. Former Tory chair Sayeedi Warsi says that she was targeted by Clarke on Twitter, where he tried to portray her as an anti-semite. 

Shapps appointed Mark Clarke to run RoadTrip 2015, where young Tory activists toured key marginals on a bus before the general election. 

Today, the Guardian published an emotional interview with the parents of 21-year-old Elliot Johnson, the activist who killed himself, in which they called for Shapps to consider his position. Ray Johnson also spoke to BBC's Newsnight:


The Johnson family claimed that Shapps and co-chair Andrew Feldman had failed to act on complaints made against Clarke. Feldman says he did not hear of the bullying claims until August. 

Asked about the case at a conference in Malta, David Cameron pointedly refused to offer Shapps his full backing, saying a statement would be released. “I think it is important that on the tragic case that took place that the coroner’s inquiry is allowed to proceed properly," he added. “I feel deeply for his parents, It is an appalling loss to suffer and that is why it is so important there is a proper coroner’s inquiry. In terms of what the Conservative party should do, there should be and there is a proper inquiry that asks all the questions as people come forward. That will take place. It is a tragic loss of a talented young life and it is not something any parent should go through and I feel for them deeply.” 

Mark Clarke denies any wrongdoing.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.