Pressure mounts on Andy Coulson

Pressure is mounting on Andy Coulson as Ed Balls calls for the police investigation into the News of the World phone hacking scandal to be reopened.

Shadow home secretary Ed Balls has heaped further pressure on Downing Street director of communications and former editor of the News of The World Andy Coulson regarding the Metropolitan Police investigation into phone hacking by Coulson’s former employees. Mr Balls called for the police investigation to be reopened following the news that the paper had suspended its news editor and former Coulson deputy Ian Edmondson regarding allegations concerning phone-hacking at the Rupert Murdoch owned paper in 2005-2006.

Edmonson’s suspension follows the imprisonment of the paper’s former royal editor Clive Goodman in 2007 for conspiracy to access phone messages after intercepting voicemails left by royal aides.

Despite claims a ‘rogue reporter‘ was responsible for the phone tapping, the suspension of Edmonson has left Mr Balls calling for another look at the issue, despite Scotland Yard saying the investigation remains closed.

He said:

“How can the head of media at No 10 be somebody who is under such suspicion that he was involved in illegal activities? As more information comes out, it is getting closer and closer to Mr Coulson.

“It may be that Sir Paul Stephenson will decide that an independent review or an HMIC review is the best next step. Let him decide that in the first instance.

“The more we see of this matter, it looks very murky and it does raise a real question what is David Cameron doing keeping Andy Coulson in Number 10.”

The full audio of Mr Balls’ comments can be found at The Guardian.

In addition, Labour MP Tom Watson has written to Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, pushing for the case to be reopened. He wrote:

“As the edifice of lies which has been allowed to shield these sordid events for so long begins truly to crumble, there will be as few places for the complicit to hide as for the criminal. Now is the time for you to establish the panel and set up a real investigation that you promised to consider.

“That way, there is the slight possibility that the non-metropolitan police and the judicial system may be able to emerge from the ruins of this democratic disaster with at least a scintilla of credibility.”

Amongst those said to have their phones hacked include Sky football pundit and Murdoch employee Andy Gray, former MP George Galloway and actress Sienna Miller. Despite the investigation being closed the Crown Prosecution Service has stated:

“It is possible that further allegations will be made and the CPS remains willing to consider any evidence submitted to us by the police.”

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