3 Oct 2010

New phone hacking allegations against Andy Coulson

A former colleague of Andy Coulson tells Channel 4’s Dispatches David Cameron’s communications director knew about hacking and listened to tapes when he was News of the World editor.

The source claims Andy Coulson not only knew about the phone tapping but asked for the recordings to be played to him.

Andy Coulson has not formally responded to this latest claim but has aways held the same position: that as editor of the News of the World he took responsibility for the phone hacking that resulted in criminal convictions, but that he denies ever knowing himself that it was going on.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked Chris Grayling, Secretary of State at the Department of Work and Pensions, if Mr Coulson still enjoyed his unconditional support if Mr Coulson’s former colleague said he not only knew about hacking but listened to the tapes.

Mr Grayling replied that Andy Coulson had always been clear about his position and Number 10 had always backed him. He said it was “really difficult” for him to comment on the new allegations because he had neither seen nor heard the edition of Dispatches on which they are made.

Andy Coulson, David Cameron's director of communications and former editor at the News of the World
Andy Coulson's red-top ride into Downing Street
Was it the promise of Rupert Murdoch's support that persuaded David Cameron to appoint Andy Coulson?

Read Who Knows Who: Andy Coulson's red-top ride into Downing Street.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, recently issued a staunch defence of Mr Coulson following fresh allegations about the use of phone hacking when he was News of the World editor.

Mr Cameron said: “We take the same view that Andy resigned from the News of the World all those years ago for what went wrong under his tenure.

“He took responsibility then, and I feel that people are trying to punish him twice for the same offence.

“The question I would ask is: has anyone got any complaints about how the Downing Street press operation has worked since he took over?”

On 7 September an inquiry was launched by the Commons home affairs select committee into allegations that News of the World reporters hacked into the phones of public figures

It followed evidence to the committee by Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who told MPs he expected to discuss renewed phone hacking claims by journalists working for Andy Coulson when he was News of the World editor.