LONDON — Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron came clean on Friday: Yes, he did ride that horse.
The steed in question: Raisa, the most infamous horse in Britain, who was lent by Scotland Yard to Rebekah Brooks, a former top editor at Rupert Murdoch’s News International division, and her horse-trainer husband.
Apparently trying to distance Cameron from Brooks, a personal friend who is now up on charges related to Britain’s phone-hacking scandal, the prime minister’s press aides had earlier suggested it was unclear whether he had ever been in said saddle.
But Cameron confirmed Friday that he did in fact ride Raisa while on a country expedition with Brooks’s husband. The prime minister apologized for the “confusing picture” he had offered Britain over the equestrian controversy, quickly dubbed here “Horsegate.”
Revelations that Scotland Yard had “lent” the retired police horse to Brooks have shed further light on the intertwined relationships between tabloid journalists and London’s police force that have outraged the British public. The links have also allegedly included bribes and other favors.
Cameron said he had ridden the horse — who has since died — before he became prime minister in May 2010.
“I am very sorry to hear that Raisa is no longer with us,” Cameron said, “and I think I should probably conclude by saying I don't think I will be getting back into the saddle any time soon.”