Rebekah Brooks at the Leveson inquiry

Brooks gives evidence at the Leveson inquiry

Rupert Murdoch's claim that "if you want to judge my thinking, look at the Sun" should not be taken literally, the paper's former editor and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks told the Leveson inquiry today.

"I don't think he was being totally literal about that," Brooks said, although she confirmed she would speak to Murdoch on the phone "very frequently" during her editorship of the Sun, sometimes daily.

"I don't think it was ill-guarded [Murdoch's comment], I'm just saying I don't think it was literal. There were lots of things in the Sun that wouldn't reflect his views."

She added: "We disagreed with quite a few things - the environment, DNA database, immigration, top-up fees, the amount of celebrity in the paper versus serious issues. We had a lot of disagreements, but in the main, on the big issues, we had similar views."

Brooks said Murdoch was keen to see more serious news stories in the paper, while she wanted more celebrity stories.

"You only have to look at the viewing figures for the BBC and ITV that it's the real life programmes that do so well," she said. "He thought there was too much of it [celebrity stories], although he liked X-Factor."

Brooks was also asked about Murdoch's remark to reporters in July 2011, when he was asked what his top priority was and he replied "this one", pointing at her.

"I didn't think that was what he was saying," she told the Leveson inquiry. "He was being asked by reporters lots of different questions. It was only the next day when I saw how it could have been interpreted in the papers. I wasn't embarrassed at the time."

Brooks resigned from News International last July and is under investigation as part of Operations Weeting (phone hacking) and Elveden (media payments to police and other public officials).

She confirmed that she received a text message of support from David Cameron, via an intermediary, after she left News International. The Times reported that the message told Brooks: "Keep your head up."

Brooks told the Leveson inquiry today: "It was along those lines. I don't think those were the exact words. It was indirect - it wasn't a direct message."

She said she also received messages from the chancellor's office, the home office, foreign office, and former prime minister Tony Blair.

Rebekah Brooks' full witness statement is now available on the Leveson inquiry website.

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