Tag Archives: andy coulson

Phone hacking trial: Coulson found guilty, Cameron apologises

andy-coulsonThe long-awaited trial of David Cameron’s former director of communications, Andy Coulson, concluded today, with the jury finding him guilty of a charge of conspiracy to intercept voicemails as part of the phone-hacking scandal. All Coulson’s co-defendants, including former Sun and News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, were all found not guilty of various conspiracy charges.

It’s just over 7 years since Cameron appointed Coulson as the Conservatives’ communications director – we noted in May 2007 his connection to what became known as the phone hacking scandal but which back …

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John Leech MP writes… Remembering the reasons for Leveson

The Manchester Evening News has a regular slot in the paper where they get a number of MPs to write an opinion column on topical issues of their choice. This week just happened to be my turn, so I thought that I would comment on the eagerly awaited Leveson report, due out on Thursday.

For those of you who don’t know, the MEN is owned by Trinity Mirror, and along with other major newspaper groups, are totally opposed to independent regulation of the press. They claim that regulation will be the end of freedom of expression. How ironic then, that the …

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Opinion: Why David Cameron will not be Prime Minister in a year’s time

Bizarrely, I was watching dancing coal miners dressed in tutus when I heard the news of Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation last Sunday evening. A little trigger went off in my mind. Suddenly, the unthinkable had become thinkable. “Cameron will be next” I thought.

OK. We’re now in the “long grass” of the parliamentary recess. Cameron put in a “Tory Trebles all round”, barn-storming performance at the dispatch box on Wednesday. He must have been thankful it was jet-lag proof Johannesburg he had come from (where he met a different type of Tutu) and not New York, with its jet-lag on the …

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Video: Clegg says PCC is “a busted flush” and “needs to be replaced”

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Opinion: Cameron should be as ruthless as Murdoch‏

In shutting the News of the World, the Murdochs have shown themselves to be ruthless. Their ruthlessness changed the story, although it has not killed it.

David Cameron needs to be as ruthless. So long as the Murdochs have a powerful media presence, his hiring of Andy Coulson and his closeness to Rebekah Brooks are real issues. The retoxification of the Tory party is underway.

Cameron should announce that he was lied to by Coulson, and that the level of rot can only have happened if people at the top were not managing the paper properly. It was Brooks and …

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Chris Huhne speaks out over phone hacking

As I mentioned earlier today, Chris Huhne went somewhat further in his Independent on Sunday profile in making critical comments about Andy Coulson and the phone hacking allegations than the party’s rather bland official statement. He’s now gone further, as the FT reports:

A cabinet minister has sharply criticised Scotland Yard for accepting what he called News International’s “implausible” account of phone hacking at one of its tabloids, as it emerged that Gordon Brown had acted on fears that he was targeted.

Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, raised the political stakes in the illegal surveillance scandal by claiming the police

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Chris Huhne profiled by the Independent on Sunday

Today’s Independent on Sunday has a long profile of Chris Huhne and his work as a Cabinet minister and including some hints of criticism of Andy Coulson:

The one time he appears to choose his words carefully is when discussing Andy Coulson. On a biting Friday morning, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change does not yet know that the chill wind blowing along Downing Street will signal the resignation within hours of the coalition’s director of communications.

“I have no reason to doubt his position,” he says precisely, when asked if he was happy with Mr Coulson continuing in

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Andy Coulson finally goes

Over the years we’ve covered Andy Coulson many times on this blog, over both his extremely high salary when working for the Tories (much higher than salaries levels Tories were criticising others for having) and also – more importantly – the phone hacking allegations.

Although yesterday he resigned, he is unlikely to depart the political stage quickly or quietly as the long queue of people at various stage of taking legal action over allegations of phone hacking mean the details of who did what and with whose knowledge will continue to be newsworthy for a good while yet.

The official Liberal …

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Majority think Coulson should be sacked, police should re-open investigation

A YouGov poll commissioned by The Sun and carried out over Monday / Tuesday finds:

The editor of the News of the World at the time, Andy Coulson, denied knowledge of the phone tapping operation, but accepted the “ultimate responsibility” as editor and resigned. He has since taken a job as David Cameron’s Director of Communications. There have recently been allegations from former employees of the News of the World that phone tapping was more widespread at the News of the World and that Andy Coulson was personally aware of the tapping. Mr Coulson has denied allegations that he was

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What Lib Dems are saying (or not) about Andy Coulson

The official Lib Dem line on Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s director of communications, could not have been clearer prior to the election: this Voice headline from July 2009 gives the flavour – Huhne on Coulson: “either complicit or incompetent”.

Yet the party leadership has been noticeably more reticent to comment on the most recent allegations, triggered by the New York Times’s typically thorough investigation.

(What does it say, by the way, about the quality of the British news media today that — with the honourable exception of The Guardian — it was left to a US newspaper to …

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BBC: Met may reopen phone hacking case

The BBC reports:

The Metropolitan Police has said it may reopen the investigation into claims of phone hacking by the News of the World if it uncovers new evidence.

Assistant Commissioner John Yates said officers would consider any new information – and examine if further action should be taken.

A former reporter on the paper has claimed the paper’s former editor, Andy Coulson asked him to hack into phones.

Mr Coulson has denied using or condoning the practice while editor…

One reporter – Sean Hoare – said he had been personally told by Mr Coulson to intercept phone messages. In a statement, Mr Yates said

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Book review: Campaign 2010 by Nicholas Jones

Anyone who has read Nicholas Jones’s previous books – especially Soundbites and Spin Doctors (1995) and Sultans of Spin (1999) – will look forward to a new tome from the BBC’s former political correspondent, who has proved himself to be an acute observer of the Westminster scene, and a fearless revealer of politicians’ trade secrets.

Campaign 2010, Mr Jones’s new work, is billed by publisher Biteback as “political theatre brought to a fresh level”. Can it live up to such hype? Sadly – and it genuinely pains me to say it, as I have high regard for …

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LDV Saturday caption competition: “Andy Coulson’s a bit busy right now” edition

There’s no prize at stake – just the opportunity to prove you’re wittier than any other LDV reader …


(Credit: The Independent.)

Here’s Tory spin chief, and David Cameron’s Director of Communications, Andy Coulson doing what he does best: getting up close and personal with a mobile phone – what do you think he might be saying, hearing, or thinking?

The winner of our most recent caption competition, the “It’s Sarah Teather by a head” edition – according to The Voice’s judging panel of one – was this one by …

Posted in Caption Comp | 11 Comments

Andy Coulson accused of knowing about widespread phone hacking

So says the New York Times in its detailed report on what the News of the World got up to with phone hacking during Andy Coulson’s time as editor:

A dozen former reporters said in interviews that hacking was pervasive at News of the World. “Everyone knew,” one longtime reporter said. “The office cat knew.”

One former editor said Coulson talked freely with colleagues about the dark arts, including hacking. “I’ve been to dozens if not hundreds of meetings with Andy” when the subject came up, said the former editor, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The editor added that when Coulson

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Book review: Campaign 2010, The Making of the Prime Minister by Nicholas Jones

I am usually sceptical about instant history book as they come out before there has been time for reflection or analysis and yet whilst events are still fresh in your mind. Too often therefore the instant history account simply tells you what you can still remember, and no more. However, Nicholas Jones’s book does a good job of avoiding this trap by being rather more about Campaign 2005 – 2009 than Campaign 2010. The book may be titled Campaign 2010, but much of it is better reflected in the subtitle, The Making of the Prime Minister, for it is about the longer story of where David Cameron came from and how he repositioned the Conservative Party.

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Opinion: The Lib Dems need a better communications strategy

An opposition party can only be truly effective via the media. Government has its own spin and PR, but the opposition must cultivate this through good press stories for them and bad ones for the government.

Blair understood this better than anyone and used it to great advantage in the dying days of the Major administration, mostly through the fanaticism of Alastair Campbell.

Fast forward to today and a small party perpetually in opposition is now in government. When in opposition, projecting a clear party line was a key goal. For the Lib Dems in government, …

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New twist over News of the World phone hacking allegations

In an unusual and dramatic turn in the long-running story of the News of the World (editor at the time, Andy Coulson) and the hacking in to the voicemail systems of people in the public eye, a lawyer whose claims were initially dismissed as wrong by the Press Complaints Commission is now sueing for libel.

As The Guardian explains:

Peta Buscombe, the baroness who chairs the Press Complaints Commission, has been sued for libel by a solicitor.

Writs have also been issued against the PCC itself and the Metropolitan Police by a London-based solicitor, Mark Lewis.

He is claiming damages for libel, including

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Andy Coulson under fire over fresh phone-hacking allegations

The Guardian reports:

David Cameron’s close adviser, Andy Coulson, has come under fresh attack after the disclosure of new evidence of the News of the World’s role in the illegal interception of the royal household’s voicemail messages during his time as editor.

The evidence is in the outline for a book planned by the private investigator at the centre of the affair, Glenn Mulcaire. The outline was written before Mulcaire signed a deal with the paper which stopped the book’s publication and gagged him from speaking about the scandal.

The outline directly contradicts the News of the World’s claim that Mulcaire broke the

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David Cameron’s priorities: one press man is worth two Prime Ministers

Earlier this week Lib Dem Voice launched a simple single message site about David Cameron’s priorities; do take a look and share it on.

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Conservatives rope in Squier, Knapp, Dunn Communications

Iain Martin’s general election commentary for the Wall Street Journal is rapidly become a must-read for me due to his record of unearthing useful bits of extra information that shed an extra light on the big political stories.

This week he had a good piece on the Conservative Party’s preparation for televised party leader debates during the general election:

Advisers close to U.S. President Barack Obama have been drafted by David Cameron to help the Conservatives in their election campaign against Gordon Brown and Labour.

The Tories have signed a contract with Squier, Knapp, Dunn Communications—a Washington-based Democrat-leaning political consultancy— to help

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Forget tweets, it’s Andy Coulson people should be talking about

Yes, someone said something foolish on Twitter. Yes, he then dug himself into a hole with an explanation that doesn’t stack up. Yes, he shouldn’t have done it.

But even for a Twitter-holic like me, you’ve got to wonder quite why this story is garnering so much online chatter in comparison with the news we may be deprived of the chance to find out the truth as to whether or not one of David Cameron’s top advisers headed up an organisation that carried out systematic and widespread criminal activity.

That is the sort of moral blindness and indifference to rule breaking which …

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LDVideo … Mandy, Clegg and Coulson

Welcome to the latest LDVideo instalment, featuring three of the most memorable video clips doing the rounds on the blogosphere.

First up, is a rather catchy little email ditty in honour of Lord Mandelson’s implausible-but-deadly-serious Digital Econmy Bill, courtesy of Dan Bull:

As Dan would wish me to add: If you disapprove of the Bill, sign the petition, or write your own message to Lord Mandelson.

Second up, here’s Nick Clegg’s second question from this week’s PMQs – and it’s a real barnstormer, which has earned Nick deserved acclaim from across the political spectrum:

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£800k pay-out to victim of Tory spin chief’s “consistent pattern of bullying behaviour”

Today’s Guardian reports the news:

A News of the World reporter who suffered from a culture of bullying led by former editor Andy Coulson, who is now David Cameron’s head of communications, has been awarded almost £800,000 for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.

Matt Driscoll, a sports reporter sacked in April 2007 while on long-term sick leave for stress-related depression, was awarded £792,736 by the east London employment tribunal. It is believed to be the highest payout of its kind in the media, and legal costs could take News International’s total bill well over the £1m mark.

The award will cause fresh

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Huhne on Coulson: “either complicit or incompetent”

The BBC reports:

Conservative communications chief Andy Coulson has told MPs he did not “condone or use” phone hacking when he was editor of the News of the World. Mr Coulson quit as the editor after a reporter was jailed for hacking.

Although he said he had not known about it, he told the culture committee he regretted things going “badly wrong” and had taken responsibility by going.

Lib Dem shadow home secretary Chris Huhne has not been won over by Mr Coulson’s performance today:

Andy Coulson’s defence is that he did not know what was going on despite the mounting evidence that

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CommentIsLinked@LDV: Chris Huhne – Fresh questions for the News of the World

Over at The Guardian, Lib Dem shadow home secretary Chris Huhne argues that fresh evidence in the News of the World hacking scandal should compel the Met to re-open its inquiry. Here’s an excerpt:

The surveillance state has rightly become a matter of great public concern, which is why the Guardian’s scoop that the use of private investigators who phone hacked was apparently widespread on the News of the World was so sensational. This is not something that can be brushed aside, because it strikes at the heart of the privacy any individual can expect in a civilised society. If the

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Daily View 2×2: 12 July 2009

Welcome to the Sunday outing for The Voice’s near-daily Daily View series. As it’s a Sunday, today it comes with a special bonus singing unhappy customer.

2 Big Stories

Afghanistan: troops numbers to go up or down?

The papers are agreed that, following the tragic and symbolic news of the number of British military deaths in Afghanistan now exceeding those in Iraq, Afghanistan is one of the major news stories of the day.

But there’s rather less agreement on what they think the Government is going to do.

Either “Thousands more troops could be sent to Afghanistan within months” (Observer) or “Ministers are secretly planning to cut the number of British troops in Afghanistan” (Independent). All clear I trust.

Phone hacking: Tory MPs set to rebel?

From the Sunday Times:

Rebel Conservative MPs plan to refer Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s chief spin doctor, to the party’s sleaze watchdog over his role in the illegal phone hacking row.

Some Tory backbenchers believe Cameron took an excessively tough stance on the expenses scandal. Now they hope to exploit the row over Coulson, the former News of the World editor who resigned when the paper was caught hacking into royal aides’ phones.

Yesterday, Lord Tebbit lent his voice to the Tory rebels. “Cameron has talked a lot about ‘detoxifying’ the Conservative brand,” he said. “Perhaps he should now think about a ‘detoxification’ of his own office.”

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

Sunday Bonus

One man gets his revenge on United Airlines for bad customer service through the medium of song:

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Coulson-gate: your LDV reader, day 2

Yesterday on LDV we rounded-up for you the Lib Dem blog-posts covering the scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch’s News Media Group following the Guardian’s expose of their illegal activities. Day 2 of ‘Coulson-gate’ has seen more desptaches from Lib Dem blogs:

Cameron, Coulson and a lot of writs… (James Oates)

Coulson is horribly exposed and Cameron would be making a grave error of judgement if he decides to keep him and then finds that he is submerged in a blizzard of litigation- even without criminal prosecution. As with the tangled affair of George Osborne last summer, Mr. Cameron may find that loyalty has a price for his own credibility. The Tories can not yet be so confident that they can dismiss this – and to try to do so looks like complacent arrogance.

News International – how much did they know about bugging? (Mark Valladares)

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Coulson-gate, day 2: Lib Dems refer NotW phone-tapping case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission

Despite the concerted efforts of some sections of the media to ignore the story in the hope it’ll go away, yesterday’s Guardian revelations about the extent of the illegal activities of Rupert Murdoch’s news group in illegal phone-tapping activities remain big news.

After yesterday’s rather rushed attempts by Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates to try and kill the story (‘move along, folks, nothing to see here’ – I paraphrase, but only just), Lib Dem shadow home secretary Chris Huhne has decided to refer the Met’s inquiry to the Independent Police Complaints Commission for further investigation.

Chris says:

The Metropolitan Police cannot act as judge and jury in its own trial. Only an independent inquiry can properly consider any possible neglect of duty by the Specialist Operations Department into the original investigation.

“Given the scale and scope of the allegations, the possibility that other journalists and investigators were involved must now be seriously considered. The review by the Director of Public Prosecutions is a tacit admission that the review by Assistant Commissioner Yates was rushed, and supports the case for a full, independent inquiry by the IPCC into the original police investigation.

“These allegations have serious implications for privacy laws and freedom of the press in this country, and as such must be investigated thoroughly. When the civil courts are recording large settlements to hush up potentially criminal activity, public authorities have a duty to investigate the matter fully.”

Chris has written to Nick Hardwick, Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), asking the IPCC to open an inquiry into the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into widespread phone tapping by journalists and private investigators. You can read his letter in full, below:

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‘Coulson-gate’*: your LDV reader

Plenty of coverage across the broadcast media and blogs today about the scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch’s News Media Group following today’s Guardian expose of their illegal activities. Plenty of coverage, too, of David Cameron’s top aide Andy Coulson, who edited the News of the World at the time it was hacking into phone lines. Here’s a handful of the posts I’ve spotted today on Lib Dem blogs:

Posted in Best of the blogs | 4 Comments

Huhne on Yates’ ‘Coulson-gate’ statement: “This was a suspiciously quick review”

Chris Huhne has responded in lightning quick time to Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissionaire John Yates’ statement ruling out any further police investigation of the Guardian’s claims that the News of the World engaged in serious criminal activities while being edited by Andy Coulson, now David Cameron’s top aide.

Earlier today, Chris wrote to Met Chief Sir Paul Stephenson pointing out his force’s conflict of interest in the matter, given the allegations relate to possible failings by the police, and urging an independent investigation. Mr Yates’ over-hasty statement serves only to emphasise Chris’s orginal point:

John Yates’s statement leaves open as many questions as it answers, not least because he says he has only been asked to look into the facts around the inquiry into Clive Goodman and Glen Mulcaire, and not whether any further investigations into other journalists or investigators should have been or were undertaken.

“This was a suspiciously quick review of what Mr Yates himself describes as a complex case. Where there is a potential neglect of duty by a police force, surely another police force or the Independent Police Complaints Commission should look into the matter. Instead, we merely have assurances from the same department that conducted the original investigation that it did so well and thoroughly.

“Mr Yates says that in the vast majority of cases there was insufficient evidence to show tapping had been achieved – necessary to prosecute criminally – but the standard of evidence was clearly high enough in the case of Gordon Taylor to secure a very substantial out of court settlement for damages due to invasion of privacy. Civil cases require a balance of probability, a lower standard of proof than criminal cases requiring evidence beyond reasonable doubt.

“I welcome Mr Yates’s assurance that people will be informed where there is any suspicion that they might have been subject to phone-tapping, but he has not said how many people may be involved or how many journalists. We need a full and independent inquiry.”

And here’s Chris pointing out David Cameron’s “extrordinary lapse of judgement” in hiring Andy Coulson:

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