David Cameron today claimed that he had no recollection of more than 20 key events and conversations going to the heart of his Government’s relationship with the Murdoch empire.
During more than five hours of questioning at the Leveson judicial inquiry, Mr Cameron repeatedly said he couldn’t remember or recall discussions he had had over phone hacking, the BSkyB takeover or the appointment of Andy Coulson as his communications chief.
But the Prime Minister did insist that at no stage was there ever a “covert or overt” deal with News International in return for their political support, despite his close personal relationship with both Mr Coulson and the News International chief executive Rebekah Wade.
The Prime Minister's aides insisted afterwards that he had not tried to evade the inquiry’s questions but had not wanted to comment on oath on events in the past that he genuinely could not remember. “He is only human,” they said.
Obviously Cameron has an Alzheimer problem and is patently unfit to be prime minister...
Brooks Told Cameron: We're In This Together
The tax authorities yesterday vowed to close down and claw back lost income from two legal tax-avoidance schemes that are estimated to have saved the comedian Jimmy Carr and members of Take That millions of pounds.
David Cameron looked to have scored a victory in his high-profile attack on Carr's tax affairs as "morally wrong" when the millionaire comedian issued a mea culpa saying he had made a "terrible error of judgement". Carr said he had now withdrawn from the Jersey-based "K2" scheme which reduced his income tax rate to about 1 per cent.
But amid anger in Tory ranks that Mr Cameron had drawn attention to tax-avoidance claims against its own billionaire donors, Downing Street was last night fighting a battle to avoid being drawn further into the row. Questioned by journalists, the Prime Minister refused to criticise Take That star Gary Barlow and – notwithstanding his comments on Carr – said he was not providing a "running commentary on different people's tax affairs".
Pick and chose is the name of the game...
DAVID CAMERON is facing the fall-out from his controversial decision to publicly criticise comedian Jimmy Carr as "morally wrong" for using a legal tax avoidance scheme.
The Observer reports that one of the party's top donors was co-director of a tax avoidance scheme with Carr. "The Prime Minister made a mistake," says an "influential accountant" quoted in The Sunday Telegraph meanwhile, which reports criticism of the PM for singling Carr out in a prominent article.
Observer journalists have been busy combing the financial records at Companies House for a story which, the paper says, "is intensely embarrassing for David Cameron".
George Robinson – not to be confused with Labour's embarrassing 1990s paymaster-general Geoffrey Robinson – is one of the Conservatives' biggest donors, a hedge-fund manager who has given the party more than £250,000.
According to the Observer, he and Carr were among the 500 co-directors of a tax avoidance scheme – not the K2 scheme which prompted Carr to make a fulsome public apology, but a different scheme called 'Rushmore'.
Detectives have evidence which suggests that a notorious private detective agency carried out a burglary while working for the News of the World.
In the latest twist to the phone-hacking scandal, a police intelligence report indicates that Southern Investigations, based in south London, targeted the home of a newsworthy individual in an attempt to dig up salacious information.
The Independent has established that the material – the first suggested link between the News of the World and burglary – is being held by Operation Tuleta, the police inquiry into illegal newsgathering techniques other than phone hacking and corruption. It refers to a "sortie" carried out into a woman's home in Ascot, Berkshire, and mentions the name of Alex Marunchak – a long-serving executive on the News of the World.
A police assessment indicated that Southern Investigations or an associate had "gained unauthorised access into a private domestic premises with a view to gaining information on the resident".
Separately, a former undercover policeman who infiltrated Southern Investigations said that it burgled MPs' homes in an attempt to obtain embarrassing information for the newspaper. All those involved in Southern Investigations, and Mr Marunchak, deny any involvement in break-ins or knowledge of any illegal acts.
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