If the Coulson arrest goes ahead, we will know that the Prime Minister failed. The question is how badly. This is what we need to know.
It has been widely trailed that the Prime Minister will give a press conference on the scandal engulfing News International this morning. His position – described as being in the sewer yesterday by Peter Oborne in the Daily Telegraph yesterday – demands that he answers certain questions.
It has been reported that Andy Coulson, News of the World editor at the time of the hacking scandal, will be arrested today. If so, it would appear that the process that led Cameron to appoint Coulson as head of communications while leader of the opposition, and then bring him into Downing Street, was irrevocably flawed. If the Coulson arrest goes ahead, we will know that the Prime Minister failed. The question is how badly. What the Prime Minister needs to tell us is:
1) What questions did Cameron ask Coulson on appointing him? Were they framed in such a way that gave Coulson the benefit or burden of the doubt? Did those questions cover all the areas that would be need to be asked of an editor of a newspaper during a major scandal?
2) What were the answers that Coulson gave him? Were they categorical, or ‘creatively vague’?
3) Did Cameron do anything to check whether Coulson’s answers were true, and the whole truth?
4) What did Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the Guardian, warn Cameron through an intermediary concerning Coulson, on entering Dowing Street. Apparently Rusbridger also told Clegg. This is going to come out at some stage, so Cameron should tell us now. And if the Prime Minister refuses, his Deputy should let it be known.
Until Cameron answers these questions, his moral authority will remain mired in Oborne’s sewer.