David Cameron: I did ride police horse loaned to Brooks

David Cameron has confirmed he did ride a horse which police lent to Rebekah Brooks

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David Cameron has confirmed he did ride a horse which police lent to former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks.

He apologised for allowing a "confusing picture" over the issue to emerge after days of speculation.

News that London's police force lent Mrs Brooks a horse emerged as inquiries continue into the relationship between News International and the Met.

Mr Cameron joked that he did not think he would be "getting back into the saddle any time soon."

Earlier, a spokesman would only say the PM "probably" rode the horse, which was called Raisa, amid much speculation at Westminster.

But Mr Cameron told reporters he had ridden Raisa during a riding expedition with Mrs Brooks' husband, Charlie, who has been a friend of the prime minister's for over 30 years.

Start Quote

"I am very sorry to hear that Raisa is no longer with us”

End Quote David Cameron

"I have not been riding with him since the election. Before the election, yes, I did go riding with him," he said.

"He has a number of horses and, yes, one of them was this former police horse, Raisa, which I did ride.

He added: "I am very sorry to hear that Raisa is no longer with us and I think I should probably conclude by saying I don't think I will be getting back into the saddle any time soon."

'Non-member'

Earlier this week, it emerged Mrs Brooks "fostered" Raisa after it retired from active service in 2008 but handed it back two years later as she no longer wanted it.

It was stabled at the couple's home in the Cotswolds - where the Camerons also have a country home - with Mrs Brooks paying for food and vet bills.

Mrs Brooks, 43, was editor of the Sun from 2003 to 2009 and then chief executive of News International until she resigned during the phone hacking scandal last July.

Separately, Mayor of London Boris Johnson told BBC London he had never ridden on the retired Metropolitan police horse, Raisa.

"I count myself proudly as a non-member of any kind of Chipping Norton set," he said, referring to the area of Oxfordshire where the Brooks and Camerons have homes.

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