Published on 7 Jul 2011

Coulson evidence adds another twist to NoW saga

Former No 10 communications chief Andy Coulson (Getty)For some time, Andy Coulson’s friends have said that the Tommy Sheridan trial was the moment he realised he had to leave his job as Head of Communications at Downing Street.

A whole week last December was given over to non-Government business, preparing for and appearing in court, the distraction from the main job etc…that, we have been repeatedly told, was the moment and the reason Andy Coulson felt he had to quit his job at David Cameron’s side and at  the heart of the Government operation.

Strathclyde Police have just been given a file which includes a transcript of what Andy Coulson said in court on oath.

Tommy Sheridan (acting for himself) asked Andy Coulson: “Did the News of the World pay corrupt police officers?”

Andy Coulson: “Not to my knowledge”.

A couple of days ago News International revealed that it had sent e-mails to the police which showed Andy Coulson, when he worked at the News of the World, authorised payments to police officers.

Andy Coulson might say that the word “corrupt” was what he was addressing. He had, in the past,  in evidence to a Select Committee,  said the News of the World didn’t engage in illegal payment. But if a court decided Andy Coulson perjured himself while serving as No 10 communications chief, that would put No 10 very close to very serious allegations.

It might also, some might think, explain why Andy Coulson decided he would have to leave his job straight after his appearance in court.

All this would, if true, spawn many questions on just how much David Cameron knew about what had gone on in the past and what had passed between him and Andy Coulson in private conversations about why exactly Coulson felt he had to leave his job at the Prime Minister’s side.

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18 reader comments

  1. Philip says:

    Though I’m not on Coulson’s side on this. I think you need to reflect on using pictures that put people insuch a bad light. When you’re condemning other parts of the media, it would be better to be whiter than white. The picture above looks like a rather cheap shot.

  2. Saltaire Sam says:

    Cameron’s judgement is certainly in question here (and elsewhere on policy, but that’s a different blog)

    Perhaps he’s such a pure conservative that he doesn’t read the Guardian and was therefore unaware of all that was bubbling under at the NoW when he hired Coulson and invited Ms Brooks round for Sunday lunch.

    Or maybe he just didn’t want to acknowledge anything that would come between him and Rupert and hoped it would all go away.

    Or maybe, as seems increasingly likely, he’s just incompetent.

    1. Rabid Richard says:

      Errr – you think Cameron is a “pure Conservative”?

      Which planet have you been living on these past few years? Cameron is a reincarnation of NuLabour light!

      The only reason the Government is cutting expenditure is because it has absolutely no choice, given the deficit left behind by Brown. If you recall, Cameron and Osborne very unwisely promised to match Labour spending, until Brown’s bubble economy blew up and boom turned to bust!

    2. Steve says:

      This story isn’t about rogue reporters, a few dodgy policemen or a few corrupt politicians.

      The whole mess couldn’t bring into sharper focus how our whole system of government, policing and even the way we conduct business is being corrupted by ever more powerful conglomerates who are way beyond reform…and I might add being of any real benefit to society at large.

      It would be great to see those in control of News International either in jail or at least fugitives, DC resigning (and not alone) because he would sell the British polical system down the river for an alliance with NI and their ilk, and finally a radical reform of the place of the corporation within the UK’s legal framework.

      I would sooner live in a more impoverished country, if that would indeed be the case, than on my knees before people such at these.

      I wish my countrymen would make a stand for if it carries on like this god knows what country my children will be left to live in.

      We are a banana republic in all but name.

  3. Rowli Pugh says:

    As an ex Police Officer, I understood any payment made to a Police Officer was through his salary or had to be declared. Then normally the said money ended up in the Police Widows and Orphans fund.

    If not it is Bribery, unpure but simple.

    Coulson prima facia appears to have comitted Perjury and Bribery.

    Its a long way to fall, and his friends appear to be deserting him.

  4. AndyN says:

    Private Eye had Coulson’s measure years ago – the “Street Of Shame” feature had something about him almost every issue during his time at the NOTW.

    I was astounded when Cameron appointed such obviously damaged goods to handle communications.

    (Nb Coulson was a lousy communications “supremo” anyway – the way he allowed a discredited and divided Labour party to set the discussion agenda was frankly pitiful.)

  5. flashjumper says:

    It’s absurd to think that Coulson TOLD Cameron that in fact he had just perjured himself and actually had made illegal payments to the police? Why would he?

    I am anti Murdoch & appalled at the spectre of NI taking over BSKYB, but I find it quite a stretch to blame Cameron for his very brief hiring of Coulson. And it’s a diversion that the Murdoch Empire would LOVE!.

    NI is guilty of corporate malfeasance & any investigation has to go up the NoW & NI chain of command.

  6. AussieClaws says:

    Is Murdoch senile? A string of bad business decision might indicate his competence is under question.

  7. Philip Edwards says:

    Gary,

    The thin hope here is that Coulson has the courage to sing like a canary and take everyone down with him including all the Murdochs (not just Rupert), Mackenzie, Neil, Brooks/Wade, the Sun, the Times, the Sunday Times, Sky TV, the Tories, New Labour and the LibDems and the rest of the rotten crew who haven’t had the guts to stand up for decency. I bet more than a few of them are suffering from loose bowels right now.

    But I also bet they won’t have to worry in the long run. As usual there will be a few patsies, then dogsbody lawyers will get to work and make rip off fees and everything will go back to the way it was – just as it is also en route with the bankers.

    Murdoch will carry on down his slimey road and the vast majority of you journalists will cower in fear from exposing the true extent of this evil. I hope you can prove the exception to the rule.

    Enough is enough.

    1. Mudplugger says:

      The real villains in this piece, those who have allegedly been acting in ways which must be roundly condemned as inexcusible, are the Metropolitan Police.

      We all expect newspapermen and politicians to live in a mutually back-scratching world, but we have a right to expect the Police, especially those at senior levels, to be scrupulously clean in all their conduct.

      Any Met Police officer found to have accepted any corrupt payment must be prosecuted with vigour – furthermore, his/her immediate superior officer must also be fired, without pension, on the grounds that he/she was clearly not doing the job correctly if a subordinate officer was able to be so corrupted.

      Only if that dual-approach became the standard, might we finally begin to see the end of police corruption in that historically most-corrupt of forces.

    2. Gary says:

      I have not made any comment on this issue. I do not read the NoW, I do not have a BSB subscription and I am not the same Gary who has posted at 7:05pm on 07/07/11.

      If you are refereing to the post below I apologise.

  8. Philip says:

    Did anyone see the Murdoch building in the USA on the TV earlier? It had a vast picture of Rupe down the front. Citizen Kane anyone?

  9. Gary says:

    [Apparently] BBC Scotland amazingly had info and claimed they had “acquired info/evidence” which went out within half an hour of the final day of the court case.

    They also changed the programmes scheduled to go out on the evening of Tommy Sheridans conviction to show a documentary. Some of the information in the documentary left questions as to how this was all acquired by BBC Scotland and subsequently produced a documentary shown on the very day Tommy Sheridan was convicted.(23rd Dec?}

    I believe journalist Kenneth Roy of The Scottish review covered it in depth within a couple of days.

  10. Alex says:

    Does any of this actually change the fact that Tommy Sheriden committed perjury himself?

    He sued a newspaper for libel, and claimed under oath that he had not done what the newspaper claimed he had, and it subsequently was proven that in fact he did.

    If Coulsdon lied, he needs to be punished, but it doesn’t actually change what Sheridan did.

    1. Philip Edwards says:

      Sheridan is presently convicted and in jail. Coulson isn’t. That’s the difference.

  11. Jean H Burton says:

    I believe that Cameron’s appointment of Coulson set the tone for how communication would be handled within the Conservative party. There is no possibility that it can be business as usual within the Murdoch empire. The allegations that have surfaced in respect of The News of the World require a judicial enquiry and since police corruption and hacking a murder victim’s phone are part of new allegations, this is starting to be reminiscent of Mafia culture. Perhaps teaching ethics and morality should be part of a journalist’s training: legal implications and consequences of professional behaviour certainly are, but sadly some NoW journalists and editors must have skipped those classes.

  12. P.A.B says:

    How wonderful of the Prime Minister to give Andy Coulson a ‘second chance’. It’s so encouraging to see Community Service being used in Downing Street.

  13. pootywod says:

    its all linked back to NEWSCORP and the way they think they can control the world

Comments are closed.