David Cameron says it was right to give his communications director Andy Coulson a second chance, despite the phone hacking scandal at the newspaper he used to edit.
There have been recent rumours that Mr Coulson, former editor of the News of the World, was prepared to quit over ongoing allegations that phone hacking took place while he was the editor of the paper.
Instead, he said he did not “go into private conversations”.
When he was the editor of the News of the World, bad things happened at that paper. I gave him a second chance. Prime Minister David Cameron on Andy Coulson
He added: “When he was the editor of the News of the World, bad things happened at that paper. I gave him a second chance.”
He said Mr Coulson’s service to the Government had been valuable.
Mr Coulson has consistently denied that he had any knowledge of his staff illegally accessing the voicemails of public figures and celebrities while he was in charge. He resigned as editor in 2007 after the paper’s royal editor Clive Goodman was convicted of phone hacking.
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But the scandal has never completely gone away, and last week the Crown Prosecution Service announced it would be reviewing material held by police about the phone hacking allegations. The police investigation was halted last year.
Prosecutors said they would now look at information that has come to light in civil cases against the News of the World. Actress Sienna Miller has claimed breach of privacy and harrassment.