British PM shortens Africa trip as hacking row grows

Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has come under fire for his closeness to Murdoch's media empire.

July 18, 2011 11:19
1 minute read.
British Prime Minister David Cameron.

David Cameron 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

LONDON - Prime Minister David Cameron cut his trade mission to Africa to two days from four on Monday as pressure mounted at home for him to take control of the escalating phone-hacking scandal.

Cameron's spokesman said the Conservative Party leader decided at the end of last week to shorten the visit to two days.

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The spokesman would not explicitly link the shortening of the trip with the phone-hacking affair that on Sunday led to the resignation of Britain's most senior police officer, Paul Stephenson.

Asked why he had decided to continue with the visit to South Africa and Nigeria, the spokesman said Cameron had a number of roles and responsibilities: "One of them is the economy" and promoting British business, he said. An aide added that Cameron was "very busy".

Cameron will be joined on the trade visit by business leaders including Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond.

Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has come under fire for his closeness to Murdoch's media empire; he chose former News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, as his communications chief.

Cameron is also a friend of Rebekah Brooks, the News International chief executive who was editor at the News of the World during much of the alleged hacking.

Brooks, who has denied knowing about the alleged hacking cases, resigned over the allegations at News International's News of the World tabloid, the paper she edited at the time some of the worst offenses were alleged to have happened. On Sunday UK police arrested Brooks for her involvement in the scandal. She was briefly questioned and then released on bail.

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