'It stinks of a cover-up': David Cameron sidesteps email cache questions

Cameron refuses to give further details on Brooks correspondence in reply to Labour deputy leader
  • @NigelpMorris

David Cameron faced fresh charges of a cover-up last night after avoiding questions for the fifth consecutive day about a cache of private emails between him and Rebekah Brooks.

He sidestepped five parliamentary questions over electronic communications with Ms Brooks, the former News International chief executive, that were not released to the Leveson Inquiry into media standards.

The Prime Minister also refused to release any further information in reply to a letter on the same subject from Harriet Harman, the deputy Labour leader.

The Independent disclosed this week that the Prime Minister had decided not to release the email cache to Lord Justice Leveson after receiving legal advice that they were not relevant to the investigation.

Downing Street has insisted it complied in full with the inquiry and inbad-tempered Commons exchanges on Wednesday Mr Cameron refused to answer a challenge on the issue from Labour front-bencher Chris Bryant.

Mr Bryant then tabled parliamentary questions asking for further details of the unpublished exchanges with Ms Brooks, with Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor, and with other senior News International figures. Ms Harman also wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to release the electronic contacts with senior News International figures.

In Mr Cameron's response to Mr Bryant yesterday, he referred him to a letter he had just written to Ms Harman in which he said he was "happy to respond to your questions in full". He added: "I have co-operated fully with the Inquiry and given them all the material that they have asked for."

Last night Mr Bryant and Ms Harman said they would table fresh parliamentary questions on the subject. Mr Bryant said: "It stinks of a cover-up. The Prime Minister is refusing to deny there's more material. What Leveson asked for or not is irrelevant. The question is why is this material not in the public domain and how did he decide it was relevant to the public inquiry."

Ms Harman said: "The Prime Minister is ducking the questions and fobbing off completely justifiable inquiries... He is not being transparent about his communications with Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson."

Ms Brooks is awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy to hack phones and perverting the course of justice. She denies the charges. Mr Coulson is charged with conspiring to hack phones and perjury. He denies any knowledge of phone-hacking.