David Cameron, asked to condemn Rebekah Brooks, apologise for appointing Andy Coulson and call for a pause to the NewsCorp/BSkyB deal, failed to do so at PMQs today.
So now we now whose side he’s really on. David Cameron, given repeated opportunities to condemn Rebekah Brooks, apologise for appointing Andy Coulson and call for a pause to the NewsCorp/BSkyB deal, failed, failed, failed to reflect 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 Street.
Ed Miliband told Mr Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions that he had made a “catastrophic error of judgement” in bringing Andy Coulson “into the heart of his Downing Street machine” – replying, Mr Cameron failed to apologise for appointing Coulson.
He said instead:
“I take full responsibilty for everyone I employ and appoint… We don’t have to take lectures from him.”
On Rebekah Brooks, Mr Miliband said:
“She should take responsibility and stand down.”
And on the NewsCorp/BSkyB deal, he said:
“BSkyB should be referred to the Competition Commission… The public will react with disbelied if it goes ahead at a time when News International is subject to investigation.
“Does he agree the BSkyB bid should be referred to the Competition Commission to give everyone time to breathe?”
To which Mr Cameron replied:
“What we have done is follow to the letter the law. The Secretary of State has a quasi-judicial role. The issue of competition and plurtality is a very seperate issue from that discussed today.”
Later in PMQs, this contention was disputed by Labour’s Ben Bradshaw, who said:
“It is simply not the case… And how can we believe their assurances when the same assurances were given over phone hacking.”
At the end of his exchange with the prime minister, Mr Miliband contrasted Mr Cameron’s weasel words with the anger in the country:
“He should speak for the country. In the interests of the media and the country it should be referred to the Competition Commission. These were not the actions of a rogue individual or rogure reporter. It happened on the watch of current chief exec…
“The biggest press scandal in modern times is getting worse by the day… He hasn’t shown leadership.”
Elsewhere, advertisers continue to pull out of Sunday’s News of the World – more details on these pages shortly.
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