Andy Coulson: I wouldn't have been offered Tory job if they'd been aware of my phone-hacking knowledge - Press Gazette

Andy Coulson: I wouldn't have been offered Tory job if they'd been aware of my phone-hacking knowledge

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson has admitted in court he would not have been offered the job as a Conservative Party spin doctor if he had told them what he knew about phone-hacking at the newspaper.

Coulson, 46, was given a job by David Cameron's (pictured: Reuters) party shortly after he resigned as editor of the Sunday newspaper in January 2007 because of the hacking, the Old Bailey heard.

But as allegations surrounding the tabloid resurfaced and media interest heightened years later, Coulson decided to leave his job at No 10 in January 2011.

He told jurors yesterday that he had been aware of one incident of hacking in 2004, in which chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck played a voicemail of then Home Secretary David Blunkett declaring his love for Spectator publisher Kimberly Fortier.

Andrew Edis QC, prosecuting, put it to Coulson: "The position is if what you had done in relation to Mr Blunkett became public you would never have kept that job."

Coulson replied: "I cannot say for sure but it may well have meant I did not get the job.

"If I had explained what I explained to the jury now, that job would not have been offered to me."

Coulson resigned as News of the World editor after the newspaper's royal editor, Clive Goodman, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were convicted of phone-hacking.

On the public announcement, Mr Edis asked Coulson: "You did not feel it was necessary to tell the truth to the public?

"You said you took responsibility for it because it happened on your watch which means 'I did not actually know about it but it happened on my watch, not my fault, but as a man of honour I will step down'."

Coulson replied: "I felt it was the right thing to do. I did not see myself as a man of honour."

He denied that he had "covered anything up".

Mr Edis went on to ask Coulson about a breakfast meeting at a hotel with his on-off lover and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks on January 14 2011, days before he left the No 10 job.

Coulson said that by then he was "feeling sorry" for himself and that he had already decided to hand in his notice.

"I did not tell her I was resigning," he said. "She would certainly get the view it was not going in a positive direction for me."

Mr Edis asked if Brooks had revealed that News International had decided to release three e-mails to police implicating another member of staff in phone-hacking during his editorship, saying: "She told you that evidence was about to be release that showed the rogue reporter line was going to be blown out of the water. She gave you no warning at all?"

Coulson said: "I knew that I had already decided that my job was impossible."

He added that it was "quite possible" that Brooks talked about the hacking crisis at the News of the World, but there were already "revelations popping up left, right and centre" in the media.

Coulson told jurors he had started thinking about leaving No 10 long before, but that he could not do it in December 2010 because Prime Minister David Cameron was in Afghanistan, and then he wanted to see through a reorganisation of the communications department.

Coulson, 46, of Charing, Kent, denies conspiring to hack phones with Brooks and others. They both face separate charges of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office.

All seven defendants deny the charges against them.

The trial was adjourned until today.



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