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Former aide to UK PM arrested

posted 8 Jul 2011, 10:37 by Mpelembe   [ updated 8 Jul 2011, 10:40 ]
Andy Coulson, the British prime minister's former communications chief, has been arrested by detectives investigating allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World newspaper according to police.

UK-NEWS OF THE WORLD - In a week not short of arresting developments, an arrest that bring Britain's phone hacking scandal to a new level.

Andy Coulson - a former spokesman for Britain's Prime Minister has been arrested by detectives investigating allegations of phone hacking at the Sunday tabloid, the News of the World, where he had been editor before taking up his job as David Cameron's director of communications.

Across town, the PM was being asked to explain why he'd hired him in the first place.

David Cameron, UK Prime Minister saying:

"He resigned from the News of the World because of the things that happened on his watch. I decided to give him a second chance and no one has ever raised serious concerns about how he did his job for me. But the second chance didn't work out and he had to resign all over again. The decision to hire him was mine, and mine alone, and I take full responsibility for it."

Cameron is also coming under scrutiny for his close relationship to Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News International who was the editor of News of the World prior to Coulson.

David Cameron, UK Prime Minister saying :

"On the case of Rebakah Brooks, as I've said, I don't think it's right for the prime minister to start picking and choosing who should run and who shouldn't run media organisations. But it's been reported that she offered her resignation over this and in this situation, I would have taken it."

Cameron says lessons must be learned and is backing two seperate inquiries into the behaviour of the press and police.

Opposition leader Ed Miliband says this still stops short.

Ed Miliband, Leader Of The Opposition, saying:

"I think we saw a Prime Minister today that still doesn't seem to get it and I'm afraid he's someone who doesn't seem able to lead the change we need in the way the press works in this country because he couldn't even bring himself to apologize for hiring Andy Coulson, a man who had already resigned from News of the World over phone hacking and the man who's been arrested today."

On Sunday, the tabloid at the root of the phone hacking scandal will put out its final issue, free of ads and surely full of contrition.

The News of the World has been published for 168 years. As one headline put it, it was hacked to death. The brand sullied by increasingly disturbing allegations of criminal prying.

The decision to shut down the best-selling paper was also seen as a way of hastening News Corp's planned takeover of broadcaster BSkyB.

But BSkyB shares fell sharply on Friday after the government said it was to consider the impact News of the World's closure will have on media plurality.

After a week of surprises, even supposed certainties are a little more difficult to count on.

Matt Cowan, Reuters