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THE Sun chief and aristocrat husband held in dawn raid; PM PALS NICKED IN HACK SWOOP.

Byline: JAMES LYONS

EX-SUN newspaper boss Rebekah Brooks and her wealthy socialite husband were arrested in the phonehacking probe yesterday.

Charlie Brooks - David Cameron's life-long friend - and wife were among six people seized by police in dawn raids.

The couple, key members of the powerful "Chipping Norton set" in the PM's Oxfordshire constituency, and the four others were held on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The arrest of Mr Brooks, 49, is a particularly humiliating blow for Mr Cameron, who has been a friend for more than 30 years since the pair were at exclusive Eton school together.

Former News International chief executive Mrs Brooks, 43, was also a close friend before she quit the Murdoch empire over the hacking scandal last summer.

The ex-Sun and News of the World editor was already on bail on suspicion of hacking and illegal payments to police. As the couple were questioned at sepahis rate police stations, Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman called for the Leveson media inquiry to fully scrutinise the PM's friendship with the couple.

Mrs Brooks and her racehorse trainer husband were preparing to go to the Cheltenham Festival when detectives swooped.

He had written on Sunday: "The happiest moment of my year is about three hours before the first race at Cheltenham on Tuesday." Instead, the pair were helping police with their inquiries.

News International head of security Mark Hanna was also among those held in Oxfordshire, London, Hampshire and Hertfordshire between 5am and 7am.

Five were later released on bail. A total of 23 suspects have now been arrested by Operation Weeting detectives.

CAPTION(S):

SEIZED Rebekah and Charlie Brooks
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 14, 2012
Words:276
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