15 Jun 2012

No trading of policies for media support - Cameron

7:27 am on 15 June 2012

British Prime Minister David Cameron has told the Leveson inquiry into media ethics that he had no covert agreements with the media and had never traded policies in return for their support.

The BBC reports Mr Cameron said he did have some conversations with newspaper editors in which he told them "we'd love a bit more support from your paper", but "not very often".

The prime minister's statement revealed he had 1404 meetings with "media figures" - 26 per month on average - while in opposition between 2005 and 2010. Once in government, that fell to an average of about 13 per month.

In 2008 he took a trip to the Greek island of Santorini for a dinner with News International chief Rupert Murdoch because it was a chance to "build a relationship" with him.

Mr Cameron also said former prime minister Gordon Brown's claims about a Tory deal with News International were "complete nonsense".

Mr Cameron said Mr Brown was "very angry and disappointed" at the Sun's decision to switch support from Labour before the 2010 general election.

And he said his hiring of an ex-News of the World editor had haunted him. Andy Coulson became Mr Cameron's communications chief after resigning from the paper.

The Conservatives have been accused of having a biased view in favour of a bid to buy BSkyB by News Corporation.

The BSkyB bid was eventually abandoned in July 2011 amid outrage over the phone-hacking scandal.