British PM David Cameron faced an extraordinary televised inquisition on Thursday into his relationship with key figures in the Rupert Murdoch media empire, but denied charges that in return for political support he rolled out policies favouring the media baron.
Cameron, looking tense, faced one of the most embarrassing moments of his political career when the Leveson Inquiry's feisty counsel read out a text message to him from Murdoch's former News International chief Rebekah Brooks, declaring "we are in this together".
Brooks - a close friend of Cameron - sent the message on the eve of his speech to the Conservative Party in 2009 and following a decision by Murdoch newspapers to endorse the Conservatives in the 2010 general elections. She said, "I am so rooting for you tomorrow not just as a proud friend but because professionally we're definitely in this together! Speech of your life? Yes he Cam!"
Asked to explain, Cameron said: "The Sun (a Murdoch tabloid) had made this decision to back the Conservatives, to part company with Labour. The Sun wanted to make sure it was helping the Conservative Party put its best foot forward with the policies we were announcing, the speech I was making. That's what it means."
"We were friends. But professionally, me as leader of the Conservative Party, her in newspapers, we were going to be pushing the same political agenda," he said.
He denied his closeness influenced his policies, such as the alleged move by his culture minister Jeremy Hunt to ease Murdoch's planned takeover of the satellite broadcaster BSkyB.