News International CEO Rebekah Brooks told Ken Clarke that she was running the government with David Cameron just days after a dodgy deal helped the Tories win the 2010 General Election.
Clarke, who served as Cameron’s Justice Secretary, said Cameron may have done “some sort of deal” with The Sun’s owner, Rupert Murdoch, to gain support ahead of the 2010 general election.
In a meeting shortly after a victory, in which the Tories secured a majority in parliament, Clarke was told by Brooks that she was running the “running the Government” alongside David Cameron.
The shocking revelations have come to light after evidence submitted to the Competition and Markets Authority, and their inquiry over Mr Murdoch’s attempted Sky takeover, was made public.
In the inquiry, Veteran Conservative Clarke said: “Within a few weeks of taking over, my Prime Minister arranged a meeting with Rebekah Brooks. Rebekah Brooks described herself as running the government – now in partnership with David Cameron.
“I found myself having an extraordinary meeting with Rebekah who was instructing me on criminal justice policy from now on, as I think she had instructed my predecessor, so far as I could see, judging from the numbers of people we had in prison and the growth of rather exotic sentences.
“She wanted me to buy prison ships because she did accept that the capacity of the prisons was getting rather strained… She really was solemnly telling me that we had got to have prison ships because she had got some more campaigns coming, which is one of her specialities.
“I regarded this as a very amusing conversation and took not the slightest notice. As long as I was Justice Secretary we would not have any of this. I do not think my successor (Chris Grayling) needed any promoting from Rebekah so it all went back to the norm.”
The former minister also said Andy Coulson, who became Cameron’s Director of Communications shortly after the election, was “Murdoch’s man” in parliament.
He said: “Within a week or two we had got Andy Coulson on board – I think he was Murdoch’s man, that was part of the deal I assume – as the press officer. I am not being totally indiscreet. Nobody seemed bothered by it very much.
The former minister, who served justice secretary from 2010 to 2012, also expressed his surprise to the CMA that Mr Cameron had got The Sun “out of the hands” of Gordon Brown.
“Rupert would never let Tony (Blair) down because Tony had backed the Iraq war,” he said. “Maybe it was some sort of a deal. David would not tell me what it was. Suddenly we got the Murdoch empire on our side.”