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A headache for Cameron and Coulson

9 July 2009

10:23 AM

9 July 2009

10:23 AM

So David Cameron has said that Andy Coulson’s job isn’t endangered by the News of the World wire-tapping allegations in this morning’s Guardian, and you can see where the Tory leader is coming from.  After all, there are very few – if any – new revelations about Coulson in the Guardian piece.  We already knew that the Tory communications chief resigned the editorship of the NotW after a phone-hacking scandal involving the royal editor Clive Goodman.  And we already knew that he claimed no knowledge of the hacking but, as editor, he took responsibility for it.  No evidence has yet emerged that Coulson was more implicated than he’s letting on.  Indeed, the only new finding in the Guardian story is that around £1million was paid out to some phone-hacking victims after Coulson had resigned the editorship.

But – even if more allegations fail to emerge – this remains a tricky story for Team Cameron.  It sifts through a past that the Tories had hoped was forgotten, and it gives Labour figures opportunity to question David Cameron’s judgement and draw comparisons with Smeargate – a task they’ve taken up with relish.  Worst of all, it means Coulson has transgressed the first rule of spin doctoring, by "becoming the story".  The Tory communications corps will have a busy few days, dealing with the fallout.

UPDATE: Alastair Campbell says that the questions are "only beginning" for Cameron, Coulson and the wider press.


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