Friday, May 11, 2012

#Leveson: Jay Questions #McCann Review

12.57pm: Jay suggests the government yielded to Brooks's pressure to reopen the McCann investigation. "It only took about a day," he notes, drily.

Brooks insists that this was a worthwhile campaign.

12.55pm: Lord Justice Leveson intervenes. He asks whether Brooks was involved in a strategy to threaten No 10 in order to obtain a review of the Madeleine investigation.

"I was certainly part of a strategy to launch a campaign in order to get a review for the McCanns," Brooks says, disputing that it was a "threat".

Leveson: "Give me another word for it, would you?"

Brooks: "Persuade?"

Leveson appears unconvinced.

12.52pm: Brooks says she did not take the McCann issue up with Downing Street.

Editor Dominic Mohan or Tom Newton-Dunn, the Sun's political editor, will have spoken to No 10 or the Home Office about reopening the Madeleine investigation after the Sun's campaign, she says.

Was there an ultimatum or threat to the home secretary?

"I'm pretty sure there will not have been a threat, but you will have to ask Dominic Mohan," she says.

Jay says he has been told the Brooks intervened personally with the prime minister and said the Sun would put Theresa May on the front page every day until the paper's demands were met.

Brooks says that is not true. "I did not say to the prime minister we would put Theresa May on the front page every day. If I'd had any conversations with No 10 directly they would not have been particularly about that," she adds.

12.49pm: Brooks is asked about the serialisation in the Sunday Times and the Sun of a book by Kate McCann, the mother of Madeleine.

Gerry McCann told the inquiry that they were initially "horrified" about the serialisation, but were later convinced after News International pledged to back their campaign if they agreed to the serialisation.

Brooks can't remember how much News International paid for the book serialisation.
"Hundreds of thousands. It wasn't £1m. Half a million maybe?"

She adds: "I had always got on very well with Gerry and Kate McCann. I think if asked they would be very positive about the Sun. In this case I thought Dominic Mohan's idea to run the campaign, this review of Madeleine's case by the home secretary, was the right thing to do … I don't think I spoke to Theresa May directly. Dominic [Mohan] may have done."