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Rebekah Brooks 'horse lending scandal' highlights close News International, police nexus

London , Wed, 29 Feb 2012 ANI

London, Feb 29 (ANI): The UK police had lent a horse to former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, who remains on bail on suspicion of phone hacking and corruption, it has emerged.


Brooks was one of 12 people allowed to adopt a retired Metropolitan Police horse in 2008, the year after two people were jailed for phone hacking at her former newspaper, the News of the World.


The latest report has raised fresh questions about Scotland Yard's 'close relationship' with News International.


The Leveson Inquiry into the press standards recently heard that the relationship between the Met and NI was "at best inappropriately close and at worst corrupt.


According to The Telegraph, Brooks passed a vetting procedure after officers from the Metropolitan Police's Mounted Branch visited her home in the Cotswolds, where she is rumoured to have gone riding with the Prime Minister David Cameron.


At the time Brooks took on the horse, named Raisa, she was editor of The Sun, but had given evidence to a committee of MPs five years earlier admitting that the News of the World had paid policemen when she was editor of the Sunday paper between 2000 and 2003.


By the time she gave the horse back to the Met she was chief executive of NI and the Met was facing calls to re-open its investigation into phone hacking following the disclosure that thousands of names of potential victims appeared in notebooks seized from the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.


Tom Watson, the Labour MP who has been at the forefront of Parliament's attempt to uncover wrongdoing at NI, said 'the saga of the horse may seem trivial, but there is a serious question of who authorised the loan of the horse and whether it cost any money.'


"It is yet further evidence of the intensely close relationship between executives at NI and the Metropolitan Police," the paper quoted Watson, as saying.


According to the paper, the issue of "horsegate", as it was dubbed on Twitter, was even raised at Downing Street's daily briefing for lobby journalists.


When asked whether Cameron, a friend and neighbour of Brooks, had ever ridden the horse, his spokesman said 'that is not something that he keep tabs on, which horse the Prime Minister is riding.' (ANI)


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