David Cameron's memory appeared to fail him as he gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.
(Clockwise from top left) James Murdoch, Prime Minister David Cameron, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson
By Matthew Holehouse
2:32PM BST 14 Jun 2012
On being a special adviser
Jay: In your dealings with third parties, to what extent, if ever, did you offer an opinion which was not the opinion of your minister, without making it clear that it wasn't?
Cameron: Well, it's quite a long time ago, so it's hard to remember all the interactions I had... On occasions I'm sure I would have made clear to people my own view about something, but I can't think of particular instances.
Did he discuss the Information Commissioner's report on unlawful data access at dinner with Paul Dacre, the Daily Mail editor, in 2006?
Cameron: I don't remember, I'm afraid. I can't even remember where the dinner was. I think also he's had dinner in my home as well. The trouble with that one is I can't remember where it was, let alone what we talked about.
On meeting Matthew Freud and Rebekah Brooks on Rupert Murdoch's yacht in Santorini
Cameron: My memory is it came together quite quickly. I seem to remember I was on some tour day around the country. I got a call or a text from Matthew. I was just about to go off to Georgia, to visit Georgia at the time of the Russian invasion, and it just seemed like a possible opportunity to link up and - but I seem to remember it all came together very quickly at the last minute. But I might have got it wrong.
Jay: We know that Rebekah Wade was there, but did you have a conversation with her about this before you flew out or not?
Cameron: I don't recall that, I'm afraid.
On lunch with James Murdoch in 2009
Jay: Would you think it's possible on that occasion that you discussed regulatory issues, including Ofcom and the BBC?
Cameron: Well, I don't recall what was discussed directly at the lunch. I'm sure that over the years I've discussed some of those issues with James Murdoch. He has very strong views on them, I have very strong views, they're not really the same views, and I'm sure we would have had discussions about it. Perhaps particularly -- well, I think probably on both. I don't recall the specifics, but I'm sure we must have discussed our views.
Jay: This was a few months before his MacTaggart lecture, which was delivered in late August 2009. Did you have any discussions with him about the subject matter of that lecture, either before he gave it or afterwards?
Cameron: Not to my memory, no. I think these would have been... you know, as I say, most of these meetings were really about me trying to promote Conservative policy, the Conservative approach and the rest of it, but sometimes because I'm interested in media issues and have longstanding views on them, sometimes I'm sure we would have discussed them.
On lunch with Sun editor Dominic Mohan in 2009
Jay: Do you think on that occasion the issue of support of the Sun for you and your party was discussed or not?
Cameron: I wouldn't -- I don't recall. By this stage obviously I was making arguments that Sun readers were coming over to the Conservatives and our approach was what the country needed and all the rest of it, but I don't remember the specifics of that conversation, no.
On dinner with James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks in 2009, following a drink with James Murdoch at which he said the Sun would back Cameron.
Jay: Can you remember anything about where the political issues, perhaps regulatory issues were discussed on that occasion?
Cameron: I don't particularly recall what was discussed then, no.
Jay: But for support the upcoming support of the Sun is likely to have been mentioned, isn't it?
Cameron: Yes. I think I'm trying to remember the exact date of the Labour conference.
Jay: I think we're onto about 27 or 28 September.
Cameron: Right. I expect that would have been discussed. In terms of what the Sun was going to do, it was - but I don't... I remember the drink, I remember what he said about the Sun supporting the Conservatives. I don't particularly remember the dinner.
Jay: Rightly or wrongly, the Sun had timed it for maximum political damage to Mr Brown's government, that goes without saying. It seems at least plausible again that that sort of point was discussed on this occasion. Would you agree?
Cameron: As I say, I recall the drink, I don't recall the dinner.
On meeting Rupert Murdoch in December 2009
Jay: Can you remember anything about that conversation, particularly about the change of support?
Cameron: Not particularly. I mean, in most of my lunches or breakfasts with Rupert Murdoch, the conversation has always been predominantly about economic issues, security geo-political issues, he was very interested in what was happening in Afghanistan, very interested in global markets.
On when Cameron realised Rebekah Brooks backed the Tories
Jay: When did you think Mrs Brooks was on onside? Six months, a year?
Cameron: I would have to go through my diary and try and remember the... but I can't give you a date.
Jay: Not even a sense of when it might have been? Was it months, was it weeks, was it years?
Cameron: I don't want to get it wrong. It certainly wasn't weeks. It was I think more than that. But I can't really give you any more than that. Did Rekebah Brooks ask Cameron to open a police review into the Maddie McCann case?
Jay: Were you asked by Mrs Brooks to support or indeed cause to take place a review of the McCann case within the Metropolitan Police?
Cameron: I don't recall the exact provenance of this whole issue. What I remember is that I had a meeting with Kate and Gerry McCann as Leader of the Opposition, and anyone who's met them or obviously read about the story, you can't fail to be incredibly moved by what has happened to them and all the efforts they've made to try and get Madeleine back, and I followed this up as Prime Minister, but I can't remember the exact provenance of who called who and when, and what have you, but I think it was... the police clearly had played a role in trying to keep the investigation going, and the Government has helped them with that.
Jay: But in terms of any interaction between you and Mrs Brooks, was it drawn to your attention that Mrs Brooks went to see two of your special advisers, I think on 11 May?
Cameron: I don't recall. It might well have been. I don't recall the exact conversations. About hiring Andy Coulson, and what they asked him about phone hacking
Jay: Mr Osborne's evidence was that he asked for and obtained assurances. Were you aware of that?
Cameron: I don't recall, but if George says that, I have no reason to doubt it.
Jay: You say that you are sure that you would have discussed his appointment with Rebekah Wade. To be clear, by this time, it's May 2007, would you have counted her as amongst your friends?
Cameron: Yes. I think I would. As I say in the evidence, I can't recall when I discussed it with her, whether it was before, during or after, but I'm sure I would have at some stage had a conversation with her about it.
Jay: Can you remember how many conversations?
Jay: Sometimes discussions of these nature go into people's character and integrity. Do you think you had a discussion along those lines with Mrs Brooks about Mr Coulson?
Cameron: I'm afraid I don't... I don't recall. But I think the most important thing I would have wanted to know is would he be good at the job.
Did David Cameron ask Andy Coulson about phone hacking by phone while on holiday in Cornwall, or in person at his office in Westminster, or both?
Cameron: My recollection is that I raised the issue of phone hacking and sought the assurance in the face-to-face meeting we had in my office. That's my recollection. I vaguely remember the further telephone call, but that's - I've obviously racked my brains to try and remember exactly the sequencing, but my recollection is that I knew it was very important that I needed to ask hinm that question, and therefore did so, as it says in my evidence...
When did Andy Coulson repeat his assurances about phone hacking?
Jay: And to be clear, the repetition of the assurance, was it sought in a face-to-face meeting or phone call or by some other means?
Cameron: To the best of my recollection, although it's very difficult to do the specifics on this, the best of my recollection it was because of the impending Select Committee hearing, and I think... obviously the embarrassment there was that he was being taken through a Select Committee hearing while he was working for me, and it was in that context that I think we had this discussion.
Jay: I'm sure it was in that context, but just the means of communication.
Cameron: I don't recall.
Jay: Call him into your office, phone call, can you recall?
Cameron: I don't recall.