David Cameron gave his under fire communications director his backing this morning but refused to confirm reports that Andy Coulson had offered his resignation over the continuing row about phone-hacking.
The Prime Minister said Coulson was “extremely embarrassed” by the endless publicity and speculation about the extent of phone-hacking during his tenure as editor of the News of the World.
However he refused the opportunity to deny weekend reports that Coulson offered to resign because of the damage being done to the Government by the continuing fallout over phone-hacking.
Cameron told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning that it had been right to give Coulson a second chance and that he was doing a good job.
‘When he was editor of The News of the World bad things happened at that newspaper,’Cameron said.
‘When he found out about those, he resigned. That was the right thing to do and I always think there’s a danger at the moment that he’s effectively being punished twice for the same offence.”
The Prime Minister’s backing for Coulson comes just days after the Director of Public Prosecutions ordered a “comprehensive assessment” of all material collected by Scotland Yard linked to the phone hacking scandal.
That move was spurred by news of the suspension of News of the World executive Ian Edmondson over hacking claims and a continual drip of celebrities and other public figures launching civil actions against publisher News International over alleged hacking.
The Prime Minster went on to praise the manner in which Coulson ran the Number 10 communication’s team, saying it worked in a ‘very proper and transparent and decent way; that hasn’t always been the case in the past”.
Coulson as been the centre of endless speculation in recent months over how much he knew about phone-hacking while he was editing the News of The World and how widespread it was.