Last Friday the Metropolitan Police contacted Rebekah Brooks and arranged a meeting so that she could ‘assist them with their ongoing investigations’. When she arrived on Sunday morning she was promptly arrested.
The arrest of Ms Brooks now means that it’s highly unlikely she’ll be able to give evidence in front of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday, alongside Rupert and James Murdoch. If she does, it could seriously compromise police investigations into both hacking and police corruption.
The question many people want to know the answer to is why did the police have to arrest Ms Brooks? They could have questioned her without arresting her and then arrested her after the select committee hearing on Tuesday – if they felt the need to do so.
Arguably the police have had enough evidence to arrest Ms Brooks for some considerable time…since 2006 – okay let’s be charitable, 2009. Was there some damning new evidence that suddenly came to light that made her arrest necessary? Very unlikely.
The question that needs to be answered is, who gave the instruction for her to be arrested? It must have been taken at the highest level – maybe even by ex Commissioner Stephenson? But what could have been the motivation for her arrest – it can only be pressure being exerted by an ‘interested’ party, can it not?
The most ‘interested party’ in this instance is David Cameron, isn’t it? Rebekah Brooks was friends with David Cameron, and a friend and former colleague of Andy Coulson at the time the phone hacking scandal broke. Brooks is very likely to know what Cameron won’t tell us: what he knew and when he knew it. She is also bound to know the details of the deal the Conservative party made with Rupert Murdoch for his support prior to the general election: all very dangerous stuff.
Ms Brooks’s previous performance in front of a select committee in 2003 was pretty disastrous. There must have been a serious concern that she could spill the beans on Tuesday – either deliberately or by accident. The need for her to be ‘neutralised’ must have been very compelling indeed. The fact that she (very probably) was is a sign of desperation and panic.
Once a scandal breaks, frightened and threatened people take very silly decisions. The silencing of Rebekah Brooks is very good example. The trail to the decision to arrest her on Sunday is still hot. It will be followed up and the truth will come out. A prime minister and a government stand to lose all.