David Cameron’s closeness to Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks came back to haunt him again today, as the pair faced fresh criminal charges, in connection with payments to police and public officials.
Three other people have also been charged today as part of the Met’s Operation Elvedon probe, formmer News International reporters Clive Goodman and John Kay, and Ministry of Defence worker Bettina Jordan Barber.
All five will be charged with conspiring to commit misconduct in public office, with Coulson and Goodman charged with two conspiracies relating to the request and authorisation of alleged payments to public officials in exchange for information, including a royal phone directory said to have contained contact details for the Royal Family and members of the royal household – known as the “Green Book”.
Barber, Kay and Brooks, meanwhile, face one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.
Brooks and Coulson have already been charged in connection with phone-hacking offences – the original crime that sent shockwaves through the British political establishment and exposed the close ties between government and sections of the media.
Brooks, a close friend of Cameron, has also been charged along with her husband and staff over allegations that she sought to interfere with the police investigation…
Police have arrested 52 people in connection with making payments to public officials, including staff from Rupert Murdoch’s daily Sun newspaper, the police and a member of the armed forces.
“The horse CB [Charlie Brooks] put me on. Fast unpredictable and hard to control but fun DC”
With a Brooks to Cameron message saying:
Brilliant speech. I cried twice. Will love ‘working together’
Expect more scrutiny of the Tory leader’s judgement in the wake of today’s developments.