Watson claims News Corp offered to sacrifice Coulson

Labour MP Watson has alleged that he was approached last June by an “intermediary” from News International offering a deal that would have seen David Cameron’s ex-spin doctor Andy Coulson sacrificed.

The book Dial M For Murdoch, co-written with journalist Martin Hickman and launched yesterday, says: “One told Watson the company would ‘give him’ Andy Coulson, but Rebekah Brooks was ‘sacred’, which Watson took to mean that the company would hand over incriminating evidence on Coulson if he laid off Brooks.

“He had no idea what evidence that might have been.”

The book also quotes another “well placed source” claiming that News Corp had News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks under surveilance.

According to the book, cleaners were warned last June to avoid disturbing “listening devices” hidden in Brooks’ office.

“The chief executive herself was now being bugged,” the book said.

The book claimed that in July 2009 a team of News of the World reporters were tasked to uncover secrets about MPs on the Commons Culture Select Committee.

It states that the group was “effectively intimidated” into curbing its inquiry.

“Although the committee wanted Brooks to give evidence, its members, whose private lives News International had pored over, capitulated and decided not to summons her.”

  • To contact the Press Gazette newsdesk call 020 7936 6433 or email pged@pressgazette.co.uk

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