Tag Archives: phone tapping

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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Daily View 2×2: 7 December 2009

Welcome to the 341st day of the year, folks, a day which has witnessed in past years the births of great thinkers like Noam Chomsky and Stan Boardman.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Why the Conservatives have been making class an issue (James Graham)
  • … the one party still obsessed with class in this country are the Conservatives. Frankly, it would be nice if there were a bit more class consciousness within the other two main parties.

  • Four Years
  • Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , and | Leave a comment

    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

    Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 15 Comments

    [email protected]: 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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    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)

    Posted in Best of the blogs | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

    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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    Huhne calls for independent inquiry into newspapers’ phone tapping

    There’s been a lot of ‘shock! horror!’ at this morning’s Guardian revelations by Nick Davies that ‘Rupert Murdoch’s News Group News­papers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists’ repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.’ The reaction is of course the right one. What I’m less convinced by is the supposed surprise of many in the media at the extent of the illegal activity undertaken by Mr Murdoch’s papers. (And don’t think for a moment the practise is restricted solely to the Murdoch empire).

    By coincidence, I’ve just finished reading Nick Davies’s 2008 book, Flat Earth News, in which he devotes an entire chapter to what he terms ‘The Dark Arts’, focusing on the willing way in which newspaper reporters – and, yes, their editors and proprietors – sanctioned the increasing use of phone-tapping and other criminal acts to dig dirt, some of it in the public interest, much of it not. As Nick writes,

    The truth is that what was once the occasional indulgence of a few shifty crime correspondents has become the regular habit of most news organisations. The hypocrisy is wonderful to behold. These organisations exist to tell the truth and yet routinely they lie about themselves. Many of these organisations have been the loudest voices in the law-and-order lobby, calling for tougher penalties against villains, tougher action against antisocial behaviour, even while they themselves indulge in bribery, corruption and theft of confidential information. (p.286)

    Quite.

    And good on Lib Dem shadow home secretary Chris Huhne for writing today to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, to call for an independent inquiry into these allegations, pointing out that the Met is itself in the firing line because it may have neglected its duty to prosecute the serious offence of tapping and may have failed to alert victims of tapping.

    Chris’s comments are below:

    An independent inquiry by either the Independent Police Complaints Commission or another police force would be more appropriate than a further investigation by the Met. Why did prosecutions not take place? Why were the victims of tapping not informed? These are matters that the Metropolitan Police must answer.”

    And here’s his full letter:

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