Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not…

Andy Coulson’s dark past has once again returned to haunt him. Following allegations earlier this year that Coulson encouraged phone-hacking during his time at the News of the World, David Cameron announced his belief that everyone should have a second chance.

Andy Coulson’s dark past has once again returned to haunt him, due to a New York Times report yesterday.

Following allegations earlier this year that Coulson encouraged phone-hacking during his time at the News of the World, David Cameron announced his belief that everyone should have a second chance.

He even went close to suggesting that Coulson’s resignation from the NotW was a moral one, saying:

“It’s wrong for newspapers to breach people’s privacy with no justification. That is why Andy Coulson resigned as editor of the News of the World two-and-a-half years ago.”

The Press Commission, when investigating the original allegations, complained that

“Throughout we have repeatedly encountered an unwillingness to provide the detailed information that we sought, claims of ignorance or lack of recall, and deliberate obfuscation.”

This time, however, the claims are far more substantial than before, and the prime minister is under pressure to reconsider his choice of Director of Communications and Planning. Tom Watson, the Labour MP, has written to No 10 demanding a full judicial inquiry.

As the New York Times revealed in a 6,000-word report, the previously unproven allegations have been given new life. According to the NYT:

“A dozen former reporters said in interviews that hacking was pervasive at News of the World.”

Coulson is alleged by one source to have ‘actively encouraged’ phone-tapping. This is a serious challenge to Coulson’s claim to a Commons select committee earlier this year that “I have never had any involvement in it at all.”

Left Foot Forward has previously revealed Tory attempts to whitewash Coulson’s record, with Liam Fox wrongly claiming that he was not involved in the succesful tribunal claim of sportswriter Matt Driscoll, who won £800,000 from the paper on the basis of unfair dismissal. Cameron’s media adviser is unlikely to be Nick Clegg’s favourite member of the No 10 staff, as he appears to have been responsible for a smear campaign against the Lib Dem leader in the run up to the election.

Predictably, the NYT’s investigation has been ignored thus far by Rupert Murdoch’s News International media empire: The Sun and The Times websites are yet to cover the story. Even the Washington Post – the NYT’s main rival in America – has ignored the allegations. But, strangely, the BBC has also failed to report them. Beyond the indictment of Coulson, the report also alleged that the Metropolitan Police had colluded with News International to cover up evidence of phone hacking.

As Will Straw reported in June, Coulson continues to use his control over the press to his personal advantage, preventing his £475,000 salary from appearing in a widely-reported list of ‘top civil service fat cats’. It’s unlikely to work this time.

Update 03 September 1100hrs

As a commenter has rightly pointed out, Coulson’s salary was £475,000; it is now £140,000.

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35 Responses to “Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not…”

  1. Andy Sutherland

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation #Coulson

  2. Shamik Das

    From @leftfootfwd: #Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation @Malarky67 @psbook

  3. Liz Ireland

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL

  4. StarSparkle

    RT @GoonrGrrl: RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL

  5. Political Scrapbook

    Essential reading on Andy Coulson phone hacking from @leftfootfwd http://is.gd/eRNdz and @LabourUncut http://is.gd/eRNg5

  6. John Nor

    RT @psbook: Essential reading on Andy Coulson phone hacking from @leftfootfwd http://is.gd/eRNdz and @LabourUncut http://is.gd/eRNg5

  7. Oxford Kevin

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://is.gd/eRNdz

  8. Pete Bowler

    RT @psbook: Essential reading on Andy Coulson phone hacking from @leftfootfwd http://is.gd/eRNdz and @LabourUncut http://is.gd/eRNg5

  9. winston k moss

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation #Coulson

  10. Dan Sutton

    Have just been told David Carradine is the #stig not #Coulson http://bit.ly/bWmrCL

  11. Lindsay Gordon

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation #Coulson

  12. Mr. Sensible

    How embarrassing for Cameron.

    I seem to remember that both the Met and PCC came in for criticism during the Commons Committee investigation.

    The system of media self-regulation isn’t working. An example of this is what happened to William Hague, commented on by Michael White in today’s Guardian:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2010/sep/02/william-hague-shaming-day-for-fleet-street-michael-white

  13. Chris

    This is a fucking disgrace, if Campbell was the spinner in question it would be all over the BBC. Why aren’t they covering it? Because the tories are putting pressure on them over the charter renewal, its disgraceful!!!

  14. Jennie Walsh

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation #Coulson

  15. Dan Sutton

    Colin Myler is the #stig not #Coulson http://bit.ly/bWmrCL” #newsoftheworldatitagain?

  16. Nye

    I commented on Nick Robinson’s BBC blog that this story was much more significant than innuendo about Hague, with a strong public interest dimension. Though the comment went up OK initially, it has since been removed and “referred for further consideration”. ie censored (for now at least).

    Then I read today’s Telegraph story that the BBC chief has had secret talks at No 10 re presenting the Coalition’s cuts message. Time for independent journalism at the BBC to stand up and be counted, perhaps.

  17. Tom Burke

    RT @leftfootfwd coulson-scandal-read-all-about-it-or-maybe-not http://bit.ly/bWmrCL

  18. Tim Ireland

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation #Coulson

  19. Fred Versch

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation #Coulson

  20. Evidence based.

    Question of fact: Where do you base Coulson having a £425,000 salary? Thats what he had prior to the election (when it was private money) but now the figure is far lower- £225,000. Before you start bleating, this is comparable to every spin doctor/wonk under the labour government.

    Also wasn’t the claim always that he encouraged phone hacking when he was editor? I really fail to see what is substainly different about the NYT story?

  21. Daniel Gray

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://is.gd/eRNdz

  22. Shamik Das

    ‘Evidence based’ – you’re quite right; the post has been updated accordingly.

  23. yorkierosie

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation #Coulson

  24. Martin Johnston

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation #Coulson

  25. salardeen

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation #Coulson

  26. Kate Pritchard

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation #Coulson

  27. David Dubost

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation #Coulson

  28. StephenH

    “Also wasn’t the claim always that he encouraged phone hacking when he was editor? I really fail to see what is substainly different about the NYT story?”

    Yes – but tthe significant point here is that the NYT claim to have multiple sources from within the newsroom.

    And the NYT are world-renowned for getting multiple reliable sources– or they will not publish.

  29. StephenH

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://is.gd/eRNdz

  30. Mr. Sensible

    I heard that too, ‘Nye.’

    How strange.

  31. Dick Mandrake

    Another good summary: RT @leftfootfwd Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL

  32. Alistair Sinclair

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation #Coulson

  33. Jonathan Taylor

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation #Coulson

  34. fljf

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coulson scandal: Read all about it! Or maybe not… http://bit.ly/bWmrCL #ConDemNation #Coulson

  35. Stephen

    It’s now the main story on the BBC News website.

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