Brooks arrests puts pressure on Cameron


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David Cameron is coming under increasing pressure to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry after a dramatic day that began with the arrest of Rebekah Brooks in a dawn raid at her Oxfordshire home yesterday.

Mrs Brooks was one of six people arrested, along with her husband, racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks, as Scotland Yard's inquiry into phone hacking moved into a significant new phase of investigating a possible cover up at the top of Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers.

Mr and Mrs Brooks were released on bail last night, together with three others who were arrested.

The arrest of the former editor of The Sun and friend of the Prime Minister drew fresh calls for Mr Cameron to appear at the inquiry into press ethics to be questioned about his relationship with Mr and Mrs Brooks.

Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman MP, last night wrote to Lord Leveson urging him to ensure Mr Cameron's links to the Brookses were investigated.

"The Leveson Inquiry, when looking into the relations between the press and politicians, will need to investigate the full extent of the relations between the Prime Minister and senior News International executives at the time when hacking was rife and at the time his government was considering News Corp's bid for BSkyB."

David Cameron, a long-standing friend of Mr Brooks and part of the couple's social circle in the Cotswolds, distanced himself from the developments as he flew to America. A spokesman said: "It is an operational matter for the police. You wouldn't expect him to comment."

Those detained yesterday by detectives from the Yard's Operation Weeting were held on the serious charge of suspected conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The arrests, which took place between 5am and 7am and followed consultations with the Crown Prosecution Service, are a significant escalation in the gravity of the offences being considered by police. Among those arrested were two current News International employees, includ- ing the head of security, Mark Hanna.

i understands police now believe there may have been a plot to conceal the extent of voicemail interception at the NOTW after the launch of Weeting 14 months ago.

Mrs Brooks and her husband were taken to separate police stations after being arrested at their farmhouse in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.