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Updated at 12:38 pm on 12 May 2012
Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks has told an inquiry that British Prime Minister David Cameron was among top politicians who commiserated with her when she was forced to resign over a phone hacking scandal.
Ms Brooks stepped down as chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper group News International when the scandal escalated and is now under police investigation.
Mr Murdoch shut down the News of the World after it emerged its journalists had hacked into the voicemails of public figures and a murdered schoolgirl.
At the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics, Ms Brooks was pressed for details of her friendships with successive British prime ministers.
She said Mr Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne and former Prime Minister Tony Blair were among those who indirectly conveyed their sympathy to her at the height of the scandal in July 2011.
Mr Cameron had apologised for not standing up for her, she said, explaining he was under too much pressure from Labour.
She revealed she met frequently with Mr Cameron, lobbied key offices of government for the approval of a major Murdoch takeover bid and intervened in the long-running row between former Labour Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Ms Brooks said she used to exchange frequent text messages with Mr Cameron, including during the 2010 election campaign when the Conservative leader was still in opposition.
"Occasionally he would sign them off LOL, lots of love. Actually, until I told him it meant 'Laugh Out Loud', and then he didn't sign them like that anymore," she said.
Ms Brooks handed over as evidence an email showing that media minister Jeremy Hunt asked Rupert Murdoch's News Corp how the government should position itself on phone-hacking.
At the time, Mr Hunt was in charge of deciding whether to approve News Corp's bid for lucrative pay-TV group BSkyB.
Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand
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