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By Ray Fleming

DAVID Cameron must rue the day he decided to appoint the Leveson Inquiry into the ethics and practices of the media. He cannot have imagined that the Inquiry would open a floodgate of embarrassing Whitehall e-mails, revelations about his own social life and, eventually, his appearance in the Inquiry's witness box for several hours. The evidence he gave yesterday needs careful examination but some things are immediately apparent.

First, he evades the key criticism of appointing Jeremy Hunt to handle the government interest in Rupert Murdoch's bid to take-over BSkyB by saying that he cannot recall ever seeing Mr Hunt's earlier memorandum to him expressing his strong support for the Murdoch bid. Second, another lapse of memory leaves him unable to say how often he had met Rebekah Brooks, the editor of The Sun (it was 19 times); asked if it had been every weekend he replied: “I don't think every weekend. I don't think most weekends. But it would depend.” Questioned about an e-mail from Brooks suggesting a discussion over “country supper” he can only reply that “we were neighbours”. Third an e-mail from Brooks in October 2009 wishes Cameron well for his speech to the Conservative conference and says, “We're professionally definitely in this together”, adding “Yes we Cam!”, a phrase that becomes the Sun's headline the next day.