The journalist and author Max Hastings tells in the latest issue of The Word magazine how he turned down a dinner date with Rebekah Wade.
Hastings, who has edited the Daily Telegraph and the Evening Standard, says: "I remember once getting a phone call from Rebekah Wade's office, asking if I'd have dinner with her, and I've no idea why. I thought for a moment, and I said no, because I couldn't think of anything that I might have to say to her, or she might have to say to me...
"I'd go so far as to say that anybody who has been an editor of the News of the World has things on their conscience that most of us wouldn't want to go to bed at night knowing about.
"I know journalism always has been, and in some ways always will be, faintly disreputable. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that; it's just a question of how disreputable you get."
On the phone hacking scandal, Hastings says it was well known within journalism that there were "wild beasts"on newspapers who did things that would get them sacked if they worked on the respectable end of Fleet Street.
He adds: "The only thing that was genuinely surprising to me was that people like David Cameron should have known better. They were stupid enough to think that these wild animals were actually people he could do business with, or even employ, or make friends with. And some of us said at the time , you are crazy to get into bed with some these very, very dodgy people, who've done very dodgy things."
- The Word has a website but does not put all its magazine content online.