British Prime Minister David Cameron has been drawn back into the phone hacking scandal once more, as a new biography claims that he texted former News International chief Rebekah Brooks during the week that she stepped down from her post over the crisis.
The Times of London -- which is a part of News International, Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper wing -- was the first to report about the charges contained in "Cameron: Practically A Conservative," the newly updated book about the PM. It is yet another embarrassing revelation for Cameron, who has been sharply criticized over his ties to Brooks and to Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor who became his top communications aide.
According to the authors, Cameron had at least two undisclosed meetings with Brooks, who was editor of the News of the World when Milly Dowler's phone was hacked, and who has been questioned by police twice in connection with both phone hacking and an ongoing investigation into the bribery of public officials.
He allegedly sent her the texts just before she resigned from News International. One of them reportedly told her to "keep her head up." The authors also claim that, after her resignation, Cameron sent an "emissary" to explain his sudden lack of contact with her. The message was,"Sorry I couldn't have been as loyal to you as you have been to me, but [opposition leader] Ed Miliband had me on the run."
Cameron's friendship with Brooks and her husband Charlie is well known. He was drawn into a somewhat farcical controversy in March when he was forced to reveal that he had ridden a horse given to Brooks by Scotland Yard.
Moreover, his troubles with Brooks are likely not over. A columnist for the Daily Telegraph claimed that the two texted voraciously, sometimes sending as many as a dozen messages a day, and that Brooks has kept every text. She is due to testify before the Leveson Inquiry into the British press on Friday, where her relationship with Cameron could be a highlight of the hearing.