Former Sun editor Stuart Higgins has revealed that when he left the paper in 1998 he entered talks with William Hague to take a similar position as the one just taken by Coulson.
He said: ‘Words were uttered to me that I could be the man to make all the difference to the Tory party’s future. My worry was that I was the man who could actually wreck the Tory party’s chances of ever being in government again.”
Higgins, Sun editor from 1994-98, is now head of his own PR company and said that Coulson could turn out to be the Tories’ Alastair Campbell.
He said: ‘The great thing Alastair Campbell did when Labour were still in opposition, was keeping up this flow of stories all the time which allowed papers like The Sun to get a page two lead every day attacking Tory policies. The Labour party grabbed the headlines and I think Andy will be doing that – he’ll be good at recognising that ammunition and making use of it.”
Higgins predicted that it would be very hard for Coulson to go back into newspapers after this move because his relationships would change ‘quite dramatically”.
‘It’s nice to think that you have good friends in newspapers, but what Andy has got is an integrity people can trust and those qualities will be as valuable in the new job as they were at the News of the World. But it’s a completely different job.
‘He’s good friends with Richard Wallace, Rebekah Wade and senior people at News International. That relationship is suddenly different because all the time you are trying to enlist support from that newspaper – it’s a very different relationship. He’ll find it – as anyone would – very difficult and challenging.