14 July 2009

Is Coulson now in the clear?

The commons culture, media and sports committee has been taking evidence this morning on “Hackgate”.  Andrew Sparrow had one of his live blogs.

Tim Toulmin, the Press Complaints Commission director:

NoW inquiry showed that cash payments to Mulcaire were signed off by the managing editor. He did not know what the payments were for. They were just listed as "source for royal story", Toulmin says. He says Andy Coulson did not know about the payments. Since then, NoW procedures have changed.

Peter Ainsworth quotes Stephen Glover, a media commentator, saying it was "incredible" that Coulson did not know what was going on at his paper.

People have "raised eyebrows" about this, Toulmin says. But Coulson resigned.

So Coulson should have known, Ainsworth says. Toulmin accepts that. But Coulson "paid a high price".

Nick Davies, the Guardian journalist that broke the story:

Davies says he has the names of 27 journalists from the NoW and four from the Sun who used a private investigator to get information. Some of the requests were legal, like electoral register searches. But many were not. Davies says he does not want to name the names. "I'm a reporter, not a police officer." But there are a number of senior editorial executives on the list. One was Greg Miskiw, the former assistant editor, news, at NoW.

There are other executives, more senior and junior. But Andy Coulson's name is not on the list.

Davies says these are journalists who used Stephen Whitmore, a private investigator.

What is important here is whether Coulson knew what the 27 journalists were up to, even though he was not on the list.  Note also that Toulmin said he should have known.

There is more to come next week when Coulson will presumably give evidence.  This saga has yet to run its course.  However, from what we have heard so far Cameron's man is in the clear.  Not forgetting that the show is not over until the fat lady sings.

Digg This

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like a total non-story. Coulson did the right thing when he was at NoW. He gas had no involvement since. If more of our MPs had acted as honourably we would have a better parliament.

    For Labour MPs an left leaning rags like the Grauniad to try to equate this to the disgraceful behaviour of Draper & McBride under Brown's leadership is shameful.