Fox becomes latest Tory to stand by “the venom of Andy Coulson”

Senior Tories continue to stand by David Cameron's director of communications Andy Coulson, with shadow defence secretary Liam Fox the latest to support him.

Senior Conservatives continue to stand by David Cameron’s embattled director of communications Andy Coulson, with shadow defence secretary Liam Fox the latest to support him. On last night’s Question Time, he defended Coulson against charges of bullying while editor of the News of the World.

Referring to a succesful tribunal claim of unfair dismissal against the paper, Fox said:

“I think you’ll find that Andy Coulson was neither present at nor involved in that particular tribunal.”

However, as Mehdi Hasan at the New Statesman points out and Left Foot Forward further reveals, Fox appears to have got his facts wrong, with Coulson directly involved in the case in question. The details are that the News of the World was forced to pay sports reporter Matt Driscoll £800,000 for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.

Driscoll blamed Coulson for houding him out, saying at the time:

“Andy Coulson was at the heart of all of this. He should look at himself and decide if his actions in the course of the way I was treated were correct. If I were him, I would find it very hard to look in the mirror. I was subjected to unprecedented bullying and he did nothing to stop it, if anything he accelerated it. I didn’t do anything wrong.

“I was in the top 30 sports writers in the country. I then came up against the venom of Andy Coulson, which I found very hard to take. It has taken an incredible amount of strength to take on the richest news group in the world and win. I don’t think anyone has ever done that before with the success that I have.”

The Guardian says that the December 2008 tribunal had earlier found that Driscoll had fallen victim to “a consistent pattern of bullying behaviour”. The tribunal added:

“The original source of the hostility towards the claimant [Driscoll] was Mr Coulson, the editor; although other senior managers either took their lead from Mr Coulson and continued with his motivation after Mr Coulson’s departure; or shared his views themselves.

“Mr Coulson did not attend the tribunal to explain why he wanted the claimant dismissed.”

Coulson came under fierce attack on Wednesday for his role in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, with a parliamentary committee this week criticising the paper for buying the silence of former employees, resulting in there being not enough evidence to sanction him.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today. 

15 Responses to “Fox becomes latest Tory to stand by “the venom of Andy Coulson””

  1. Shamik Das

    Tories are the real bullies: RT @leftfootfwd: Fox becomes latest Tory to stand by "the venom of Andy Coulson" http://cli.gs/4jSD2

  2. Anon E Mouse

    Shamik – You say the “Tories are the real bullies”. (hahaha barrels and scraping…)

    1. Alistair Darling, The LABOUR PARTY chancellor thinks otherwise…

    2. Hansard shows otherwise…

    3. Andy Coulson is not a public servant – what business is it of yours who the opposition employ?

    Out of interest Shamik how much does the union pay you for these articles?

  3. Anon E Mouse

    Shamik – The Guardian (hardly a right wing newspaper but I’m sure you’ll argue it is) also disagree with you…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/25/only-paralysis-fear-pervades-workplace

    Or is she wrong as well…

  4. Anon E Mouse

    Shamik – Wall Street Journal disagree with you as well…

    http://blogs.wsj.com/iainmartin/2010/02/25/greatest-hits-of-the-forces-of-hell/

    (See the links Shamik – that’s called evidencing a story…)

  5. Anon E Mouse

    Shamik – Last one – there are just too many to send links to I’m afraid…

    Just because the New Statesman says it Shamik doesn’t make it any more than one man’s opinion and he’s wrong. Clearly.

    Times disagree with you as well…

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article7036902.ece

  6. Bill Kristol-Balls

    A fresh faced leader of a political party that has spent over a decade in the wilderness of British politics employs a bullying ex-tabloid hack as his spin doctor.

    Change you can believe in 😉

  7. Anon E Mouse

    Bill – Who cares what Cameron does?

    My point is that if we all spent a little less time going over the “big bad children eating Tory Party” we may be more viable to continue as a government.

    As it stands *any* change has to be better than this and the sooner this and other Labour leaning sites stop trying to justify the unjustifiable the sooner as a party we will be able to forward a case for (re)election.

    To deny that the culture at No.10 is not one of an oppressive nature is to just deny the truth. Argue people are “passionate” or “frustrated” – whatever but to deny there is a problem is to treat the public as fools and they will crucify us in the following weeks.

    Small point I thought Coulson wasn’t named in the conclusion….

  8. Bill Kristol-Balls

    Bill – Who cares what Cameron does?

    Anyone with an interest in the man who is most likely to be PM in 6 weeks.

    if we all spent a little less time going over the “big bad children eating Tory Party”

    Straw man argument (apologies Will). I never said that and neither did Shamik.

    *any* change has to be better than this

    Not much of a sales pitch for the Tories to run on but it seems to be all they have. The Nick Herbert interview on the Daily Politics was along those lines.

    deny that the culture at No.10 is not one of an oppressive nature is to just deny the truth

    Straw man again. I’m not denying any such thing. The piece was about Coulson and my humble contribution was merely to point out that Cameron’s change pitch is undermined by having an ex-tabloid hack with a reputation for bullying and with the initials AC as his spin doctor.

  9. Shamik Das

    Anon,

    For someone who’s always going on about ‘standing up for the “little man”‘, you seem remarkably reluctant to denounce Andy Coulson for what he did to Mr Driscoll.

    Evidence? How about the verdict of an employment tribunal as against a few random columns you may have found.

  10. Look Left – The Week in Fast Forward | Left Foot Forward

    […] Wednesday evening. Egged on no doubt by David Cameron’s spin chief and former Murdoch lackey Andy Coulson, The Sun reportedly offered her up to £75,000 for her story, yet, as the Indy put it, she […]

  11. Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not... | Left Foot Forward

    […] Foot Forward has previously revealed Tory attempts to whitewash Coulson’s record, with Liam Fox wrongly claiming that he was not […]

  12. Cameron's communications chief Coulson calls it quits | Left Foot Forward

    […] had also been the subject of previous allegations regarding bullying at News of The World that had become a major news story. The paper was forced to […]

  13. Look Left – Johnson and Coulson quit as everyone forgets about Blair | Left Foot Forward

    […] though questions over Coulson’s conduct stretch beyond recent scandals, with allegations of bullying stretching back five years. One of his victims, sports reporter Matt Driscoll, told a tribunal: […]

  14. Spineless Cameron fails to speak out against Brooks, Coulson or BSkyB deal | Left Foot Forward

    […] public opinion, give vent to the nation’s fury and offer up a mea culpa for bringing the venom of Andy Coulson into the heart of Downing […]

  15. Look Left – The week the press were finally reined in | Left Foot Forward

    […] from revulsion at the new hacking allegations to denouncing Brooks, keeping the pressure up on Coulson and calling for a pause in the News Corp/BSkyB takeover […]

Leave a Reply