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Anorak | Andy Coulson: No Inquiry Until Daily Telegraph Wants One

Andy Coulson: No Inquiry Until Daily Telegraph Wants One

by | 6th, September 2010

ANDY Coulson is front–page news on the Independent and Guardian. He is not front-page news on any other paper. The allegation is that Coulson, now the director of communications at that No 10, knew journalists were hacking the phones of prominent people when he was their editor at the News of The World. He denies this.

The paper’s royal editor, Clive Goodman, was sentenced to four months in prison for intercepting phone messages.

The New Statesman sums up the story in one line:

The allegations of phone-hacking at the News of the World could be reinvestigated if new evidence comes to light.

So. Is there any new evidence of goings on four years ago?

Tory minister Michael Gove says the latest bout of news is “recycled”. There is nothing new. Well, not quite. There is the testimony of former NoTW hack Sean Hoare who says Coulson knew all about the ahcking. But he has yet to back up his allegations with proof.

So. Gove is right. But the whiff of scandal is being fanned by leading Labour politician. At the weekend we were invited to wonder if Peter Mandelson was a victim of illegality?

The Guardian tells its readers:

Lord Mandelson, the former business secretary, was named as the latest possible target of News of the World phone message hacking. He said today he was not the source of the story and did not wish to comment.

So says a statement from the master spin doctor.

And then there is John Prescott. He wants know if his phone was hacked.

The police are listening. Assistant Commissioner John Yates has asked the New York Times – to whom Hoare made his statement – to provide it with any new material it has.

Yates says there is “no evidence” that former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott’s phone was hacked.

Says Prescott:

“I have been far from satisfied with the Metropolitan Police’s procedure in dealing with my requests to uncover the truth about this case.”

Is there any evidence to show that Prescott was spied on illegally? The Guardian notes that Glenn Mulcaire – the private investigator was who jailed for six months for his part in the crime – had worked for the NoTW:

The name “Prescott” appears on two “self-billing tax invoices” from News International Supply Company Ltd to Mulcaire’s company, Nine Consultancy.

The Yard’s letter, obtained by the Observer, states: “One appears to be for a single payment of £250 on 7/5/2006 labelled ‘Story: other Prescott Assist -txt.’ The second, also for £250, on 21/5/2006 contains the words ‘Story: Other Prescott Assist -txt urgent’.”

And..? Well, nothing. The feeling is that the matter will only become a big deal should the Telegraph ask for an inquiry.

The New York Times sums up:

The publication of the Times Magazine article has starkly exposed the fault lines in the media and political landscape in Britain. Papers supporting the government — including The Times of London and The Sun, both Murdoch-owned — have devoted little space to the new accusations. But media outlets critical of the government, including The Guardian, The Independent and the BBC — which itself is in a bitter feud with Mr. Murdoch’s company, which has extensive television holdings in Britain — have covered The Times’s article, and the subsequent calls for new investigations, extensively.

Stephen Glover concurs:

As things stand, then, Mr Coulson is probably safe. He has the advantage that, apart from The Guardian and its sister paper, The Observer, and to a lesser degree The Independent and Independent on Sunday, newspapers are not particularly interested in this story, for a variety of reasons. (However, the powerful BBC did run enthusiastically with it at the end of last week.) The Murdoch-owned Times does not wish to foul its own nest. Neither the Daily Mail nor The Daily Telegraph yet wants to go to war with Mr Coulson, who is, after all, in the Tory camp, besides being the fount of many useful stories.

The last word is with Peter Bingle, who asks:

What would Andy Coulson’s advice be to somebody who found themselves in Andy Coulson’s position?

Well, he’s yet to speak about it to the media – so that’s all you need to know…



Posted: 6th, September 2010 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink