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.

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PMQs review: Theresa May shows again that Brexit means hard Brexit

The Prime Minister's promise of "an end to free movement" is incompatible with single market membership. 

Theresa May, it is commonly said, has told us nothing about Brexit. At today's PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn ran with this line, demanding that May offer "some clarity". In response, as she has before, May stated what has become her defining aim: "an end to free movement". This vow makes a "hard Brexit" (or "chaotic Brexit" as Corbyn called it) all but inevitable. The EU regards the "four freedoms" (goods, capital, services and people) as indivisible and will not grant the UK an exemption. The risk of empowering eurosceptics elsewhere is too great. Only at the cost of leaving the single market will the UK regain control of immigration.

May sought to open up a dividing line by declaring that "the Labour Party wants to continue with free movement" (it has refused to rule out its continuation). "I want to deliver on the will of the British people, he is trying to frustrate the British people," she said. The problem is determining what the people's will is. Though polls show voters want control of free movement, they also show they want to maintain single market membership. It is not only Boris Johnson who is pro-having cake and pro-eating it. 

Corbyn later revealed that he had been "consulting the great philosophers" as to the meaning of Brexit (a possible explanation for the non-mention of Heathrow, Zac Goldsmith's resignation and May's Goldman Sachs speech). "All I can come up with is Baldrick, who says our cunning plan is to have no plan," he quipped. Without missing a beat, May replied: "I'm interested that [he] chose Baldrick, of course the actor playing Baldrick was a member of the Labour Party, as I recall." (Tony Robinson, a Corbyn critic ("crap leader"), later tweeted that he still is one). "We're going to deliver the best possible deal in goods and services and we're going to deliver an end to free movement," May continued. The problem for her is that the latter aim means that the "best possible deal" may be a long way from the best. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.