Cameron's horse rides admission
David Cameron might have gone riding on Rebekah Brooks' former police horse, Raisa, Downing Street has admitted for the first time.
The disclosure raises questions about the closeness of the relationship between the UK prime minister and Brooks, the former tabloid newspaper editor who quit as CEO of News International at the height of the phone-hacking scandal last year.
It emerged this week that Brooks was lent a retired police horse by the Metropolitan Police for two years. The horse, called Raisa, was stabled at her farm in the Cotswolds from 2008 to 2010 then returned to Scotland Yard. She was put out to pasture in Norfolk and has since died.
An aide close to Cameron confirmed for the first time that the prime minister had gone riding with Brooks' husband, Charlie, a racehorse trainer and an old friend of Cameron from his Eton school days.
The source said that it was "possible" that one of the horses could have been Raisa because Brooks had lent a number of horses to Cameron over the years. The aide said: "It is possible. He used a number of Charlie's horses."
Cameron had no recollection of riding with Brooks, however. The aide added: "He never rode with Rebekah Brooks. He has no recollection of riding with Rebekah Brooks."
Cameron and Brooks were both part of the so-called Chipping Norton set of powerful public figures who met regularly at private gatherings until the phone-hacking scandal broke.
The prime minister, who was forced to disclose that he had attended intimate Christmas meals with Brooks, is long rumoured to have spent time horse-riding with her, prompting speculation that he might have ridden Raisa.
One of the people claiming Cameron went riding with Brooks is former News of the World journalist Paul McMullan, who was recorded in an undercover investigation by the New Statesman magazine.
He said: "Cameron went horse riding regularly with Rebekah.
"I know, because as well as door-stepping celebrities, I've also door-stepped my ex-boss by hiding in the bushes, waiting for her to come past with Cameron on a horse . before the election to show that - you know - Murdoch was backing Cameron."