Former News of the World editor and Cameron aide Andy Coulson and former News International chief Rebekah Brooks will testify before the Leveson inquiry this week. Coulson has been arrested once in the hacking case, Brooks twice.
The Independent is reporting that a News Corporation lobbyist who has bragged about his close working relationship with Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has also worked closely with David Cameron as well, undercutting Tory excuses that the lobbyist was making empty claims:
David Cameron agreed to a meeting with one of Rupert Murdoch's senior executives that was arranged by the lobbyist now at the centre of the Jeremy Hunt scandal, The Independent on Sunday has learnt.
Frédéric Michel, whose numerous emails to Mr Hunt's special adviser have put pressure on the Culture Secretary to resign, set up the secret talks between Mr Cameron and Jose Maria Aznar, the former prime minister of Spain and a member of Mr Murdoch's News Corporation board.
The involvement of Mr Michel, the head of public affairs for News Corp, in such a top-level meeting severely undermines his portrayal by Mr Hunt and the Prime Minister as simply a lobbyist and "Walter Mitty" fantasist.
The previously undisclosed meeting in November 2009 also shows how Mr Cameron was being assiduously courted by News Corp executives beyond the Murdoch family, as the company was gearing up for its bid to take over BSkyB.
George Osborne and William Hague were also present at the talks, The IoS understands.
The Prime Minister is under increasing pressure over the Leveson inquiry ahead of the appearances this week of the former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and Mr Cameron's ex-communications chief, Andy Coulson.
At the same time, Mr Cameron is struggling to contain open revolt among Conservative MPs over the direction of his party, including pressure from some figures to sideline George Osborne as election strategist, following Boris Johnson's securing of a second term as London Mayor. Mr Johnson's double victory exposes Mr Cameron's weakness as a leader who never crossed the finishing line, say some MPs.
The Daily Mail reports David Cameron has reason to dread Rebekah Brooks' testimony before Leveson:
David Cameron faces the embarrassment of highly personal text messages and emails to and from former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks being revealed this week.
Mrs Brooks and the Prime Minister’s ex-No 10 spin doctor, Andy Coulson, who resigned as editor of the News of the World newspaper over phone hacking, are both due to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into the scandal.
It has been claimed that Mr Cameron was so close to Mrs Brooks that he texted her up to a dozen times a day – and that Mrs Brooks has kept all the communications.
Mr Cameron and Mrs Brooks are said to sign-off some of their text messages to intimate friends with the friendly ‘x’ preferred by many habitual phone texters.
If they did so in messages to each other, it could add to the Government’s growing discomfort over the Leveson disclosures.
According to some sources, Mr Cameron sent text messages of support to Mrs Brooks and her husband, race-horse trainer Charlie Brooks, before she was forced to resign over the phone-hacking affair.
So much for Cameron's claims that he wasn't all that close to News Corporation executives.
The Independent also reports that former Cameron aide Andy Coulson owned News Corporation shares while working for the prime minister at a time when News Corporation was trying to buy up the rest of BSkyB:
Andy Coulson held shares in News Corporation while he was David Cameron's head of communications at Downing Street, at a time when the Government was deciding whether to approve the company's takeover of BSkyB, it is revealed today.
Mr Coulson, who faces a tough time when he gives evidence to the Leveson inquiry this Thursday, was awarded the blue-chip shares as part of his pay-off when he resigned as editor of the News of the World over the phone-hacking scandal in 2007.
The revelation raises difficult questions for the Prime Minister over whether he knew about Mr Coulson's financial interests.
An Independent editorial wonders if Cameron is "competent" enough to stand as prime minister.
And it seems the rest of Britain is wondering the same. Local elections in Britain saw Conservatives and Liberal Democrats swept from power, indicating patience with and support for the coalition government is waning and (perhaps) support for a Labor Party led by Ed Milliband is growing. Hard to know how much loss of support Cameron and the Tories had over the hacking scandal (it's probably very little, actually) but you'd have to say the fallout from the scandal is not helping them much at a time when the economy has fallen into recession again.
And finally, The Guardian says Cameron dare not cast Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation adrift despite the bad smell emanating from the relationship:
The greatest fear is among the Conservatives. Murdoch's decision to release emails that showed how Jeremy Hunt's adviser was facilitating News Corporation's takeover of BskyB was a taste of what may come. Not just Hunt, but Cameron and George Osborne were complicit in promising sweetheart deals to News Corporation. Coulson, Brooks, James Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch know it. What is more, the Tory leadership suspects they can prove it.
We are in the absurd position where the Conservatives dare not stop fawning over Murdoch now for fear that he will reveal how they fawned over him in the past.
Should be another interesting week in the News Corporation scandal.