David Cameron's spin doctor Andy Coulson quits over phone hacking scandal
British Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman, Andy Coulson, resigned today amid growing controversy over his role in a phone hacking scandal while he was a British tabloid editor.
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He also credits Coulson with being "an excellent media operator," citing his role in the salvaging of Conservative’s fortunes in the middle of 2007 when their hopes of winning government appeared to be slipping away as Gordon Brown enjoyed a bounce in popularity shortly after becoming prime minister.Skip to next paragraph
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Of course, not everyone agrees.
Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former communications chief whose own tabloid background has often led him to be compared to Coulson, used Twitter to decry: "Dreadful news management by Cameron's team."
Iraq war inquiry
But Mr. Campbell may not be recognizing another cliché of spin-doctoring: today was “a good day to bury bad news." Coulson's resignation came as Mr. Blair, the former Labour Prime Minister, made his second, headline-grabbing appearance at Britain’s inquiry into the Iraq war.
Some speculate that the Blair appearance was exactly why Coulson announced his resignation.
Speaking Friday, Cameron said: “I am very sorry that Andy Coulson has decided to resign as my director of communications although I understand that the continuing pressures on him and his family mean that he feels compelled to do so.
"Andy has told me that the focus on him was impeding his ability to do his job and was starting to prove a distraction for the government," Cameron said.
Phone hacking controversy
But the distraction may not be over yet, particularly if Coulson continues to be haunted by the events leading up to 2007, when a News of the World reporter and an investigator the paper had hired both pleaded guilty to illegally intercepting the telephone messages of chief aides to Prince William and Prince Harry.
At the time, Coulson claimed it was an isolated incident and that he had known nothing about the phone hacking.
However, amid reports that further disaffected News of the World journalists could go public with new revelations, as well as renewed police interest in the hacking scandal, Coulson’s replacement at No. 10 could yet have his work cut out answering questions about why the Conservative Party decided on such a risky hiring.