Friday, January 21, 2011

Andrew Coulson Resigns

Andy Coulson outside Glasgow High Court

Andy Coulson, a witness in the trial of HMA vs Gail and Thomas Sheridan has resigned from his role as Director of Communications at 10 Downing street. In his statement he gives the reason for stepping down as "Unfortunately, continued coverage of events connected to my old job at the News of the World has made it difficult for me to give the 110% needed in this role.

As regular readers will be aware Mr Coulson was called by the defence to answer allegations that a private investigator, Greg Mulcaire, hacked into Mr Sheridan's telephone answering service in 2006, the evidence for this being a notebook belonging to Mr Mulcaire which contained Mr Sheridan's personal details including his mobile telephone number and what appeared to be a "PIN" number used to access voicemail. Mr Coulson denied any knowledge of this or of the defence's contention that Mr Mulcaire had an "exclusive contract" with the News of the World while Mr Coulson was the newspaper's editor.

 Mr Sheridan's lawyer Aamer Anwar, has now issued a statement

"“At the trial of Tommy Sheridan, Mr Coulson gave evidence under oath
that he had no knowledge of phone hacking despite Glen Mulcaire having
Mr Sheridan’s mobile phone number and personal details. His evidence
should now be re-examined by the authorities.

His resignation will not make this go away, members of the public
should not have to take legal action to get to the truth.

It is time for an independent Judicial Inquiry into the role of
Coulson and News International as  the conduct of the Metropolitan
Police investigation has been unacceptable.”

Our full reports in Mr Coulson's testimony at the trial can be found below.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3
Update 2.37pm
Ian Edmondson, a News of the World journalist  who was suspended last week due to allegations of phone hacking, has has his solicitor issue a "notice to broadcasters/editors."  This states  that any suggestion that Andy Coulson resigned as Mr Edmondson "was about to turn Coulson in" would be "false and defamatory."  You can see a copy of that statement Here


James Doleman said...

Comment of the day on Twitter

"Show your appreciation for Andy Coulson. Leave him a message of a support on your voicemail."

Buck T said...

Here's my prediction of what's about to happen.

News International have now realised that it is no longer possible to bribe their way out of this one as civil cases will bring out the true nature of this huge scandal. They have now decided that the only option open to them is to have the one bad apple in their organisation re-designated as Andy Coulson rather than Clive Goodman.

That is the only way they can protect their other interests, most specifically BSkyB, by claiming that the News of the World was rotten under Coulson's stewardship because he was a rogue editor and no-one in News International knew anything about it.

NI will no longer support Coulson and will either make him a patsy or pay him plenty to take the rap.

Here is the real bad news for Coulson though. I doubt if he will face any charges leading to imprisonment once this all unravels. However, he quite obviously committed perjury at a high profile perjury case and I have no doubt whatsoever that he will find himself in a Scottish dock within the next 2 years. From that he will not be able to rely on friends in high places to help hime out, no matter what pictures he has of them.

James Doleman said...

Hello "Doleman Hunter" I'd just like to say thanks for your daily comments, every time I get tired and wonder if this is all worthwhile your little messages popping into my inbox always give me the motivation to carry on.

Keep up the good work.



Peter said...

Thanks to the well funded Pollock Community Project Video Club we can now reveal secretly recorded footage of Gail Sheridans meeting with Andy Coulson this morning.

Anonymous said...


Say It Ain't So Joe said...

Without wishing to impinge on the fine works of Jamesie Cotter's Govan Straw Clutchers Collective if in the fullness of time it was established that Coulson gave perjured evidence in the Sheridan trial then the question for the Appeal Court to address would be, as I understand it, to address whether on discounting the totality of that evidence the reasonable jury would not have reached the verdict it did on the rest of the evidence heard.

The continuous thrum of conspiracy theories emanating from certain quarters and murmuring the jury's verdict is not going to put a future appeal court bench in the best of fettles.

Peter said...

Apologies for the poor spelling Anon I have not been up to Glasgo for a while.

That should have been POLLOK Community Project Video Club - with free sherbet dabs at the end of the first feature.

How does that scene end again ...


"Now we can go back to the Wizard and tell him that the wicked witch is dead."


Looking forward to a happy (happier) ending in the Emerald City next week.

Jessica Fletcher P.I. said...

I much prefer the Scarecrow's take on things Peter.

I enjoyed the twitter comment.

Bunc said...

So Coulson falls on his sword then only a day or two after Mulcaire begins rattling the cage - predictable. This isn't the end of Couslon's woes I'm sure.

Those who may be sitting on further revelations may now judge that with things beginning to unravel that it's getting to the time when it is better to tell than hold back. It wouldn't surprise me if we hear more stuff in the coming days now.

Some guy on Sky news saying Coulson did a great job with teh Gov and ran a "tight ship" "just like at NOTW". How can he be seen as running a tight ship and still claim to have known nothing about voice-mail hacking?

Interesting comments also by some media hacks on the TV suggesting that there are few investigative newspapers and journalists who haven't either sailed close to the legal wind or damn well over it when following stories.

One guy even suggesting that breaking the law was sort of their greater duty to ensure public disclosure. Possibly a lot of people in glass houses out there feeling they need to be careful now about throwing stones?

Interesting parallels to the Wikileaks issue also - NOTW breaks the law to dish the dirt on lying politicians and Wikileaks dishes the dirt using info probably illegally obtained. Yet one lot are despised and the other lot applauded. What a strange world eh?

James Doleman said...

I think we have had enough Wizard of Oz references all.

Best Regards


Bunc said...

"Those who may be sitting on further revelations may now judge that with things beginning to unravel that it's getting to the time when it is better to tell than hold back."

I should of course make clear for the avoidance of doubt, and in the light of Ian Edmonson's lawyers statement, that I was in no way referring to him. There are others I'm sure who may yet have more to say on the matter.

Peter said...

Oh James just as I was going to go for:

"How can the left wing be at the right?" demanded Dorothy.

But fair enough.

Critical-eye said...

Bunc said

"Interesting parallels to the Wikileaks issue also - NOTW breaks the law to dish the dirt on lying politicians and Wikileaks dishes the dirt using info probably illegally obtained. Yet one lot are despised and the other lot applauded. What a strange world eh?"

My point exactly in an earlier post about the morally ambiguous attitude of the Left - moral outrage at any law-breaking on the part of their opponents, but a very permissive attitude to law-breaking when it serves their cause.

I also asked earlier for a reponse from those who have condemned the police "leak" of the Sheridan interviews, what their attitude was to Wikileaks. Was the question simply not noticed, or is it significant that no answer to the question was posted.

James Doleman said...

I would suggest Critical-Eye that revealing government malfeasance and double dealing to the people that said government claims to represent is slightly more morally justifiable that hacking Sienna Miller's phone to revealing her private life for the prurient amusement of Tabloid readers

Just my 2c of course.

Best Regards


sceptic said...

Bunc said...

James - and how does hacking for the purpose of exposing the lies and deceit of politicians who espouse one moral code when living another rate on that scale exactly?

Jessica Fletcher P.I. said...

Wikileaks v NotW voice-mail cracking

I take your points but James is quite right.
A lot of the information gained by Wikileaks can potentially be protected under whistleblowing laws. I might be wrong but I don't think the voice-mails have produced anything illegal yet. Wikileaks provides a service where people can blow the whistle on things. The NotW was breaking the law on the off chance of finding something illegal.

The only relevance this has to the Sheridan trial is that Sheridan called Coulson as a witness. Why? In an attempt to portray a conspiracy between the NotW, the SSP, Lothian and Borders police, and No.10 Downing Street. Also to gain media attention. I think it's important to note that the media attention was most likely his top motivation.

Critical-eye said...

"Slightly more morally justifiable" - I can absolutely hack.

It is the totally black and white attitude of some which I question.

CB said...

Critical Eye

NOTW does it for money, and does it to individuals committing personal misdemeanours. Wikileaks does it for the public good, and does it to imperial states committing aggression.

It's the old "principle" thing. We've discussed it before.

Gunboat Diplomat said...

@critical eye "My point exactly in an earlier post about the morally ambiguous attitude of the Left - moral outrage at any law-breaking on the part of their opponents, but a very permissive attitude to law-breaking when it serves their cause.

I also asked earlier for a reponse from those who have condemned the police "leak" of the Sheridan interviews, what their attitude was to Wikileaks. Was the question simply not noticed, or is it significant that no answer to the question was posted."


I also note you decided to ignore the responses to your "the left is morally ambiguous" postings. Did you simply not notice? Or is it significant that no answer to the replies was posted....

In case you've forgotten, they're here:

Bunc said...

Jessica - I think its debatable if the Wikileaks Cablegate has produced evidence of anything illegal either and neither are those leaks the result of "whistle-blowing laws". The cablegate releases are also "fishing" expeditions basically.

There may, arguably, be a legitimate public interest in the secret diplomatic cables of the USA and also no doubt that the leaks caused great embarrassment and some diplomatic difficulty for the USA and other countries.

Equally there may also, arguably, be a legitimate public interest in the secret behaviour of politicians and others who present one face to the public and conduct themselves quite differently in private. This also causes great embarrassment and difficulty for the individuals involved.

Wikileaks is currently suggesting it may leak details of individual who have been evading tax using Swiss banking arrangements I believe. Do you think the person leaking these details should be prosecuted with the full force of the law?( in Switzerland)

There are parallels here like it or not. The issue of the role of the media and others in obtaining and releasing highly sensitive information is a very complex one. If you support it when it's directed against people or organisations that you dislike you need to be prepared for the fact that the same methods may play out against people that you support.

Critical-eye said...

Gunboat Diplomat

Better late than never, here is my reply. You say;-

"Scandal after scandal after scandal shows the ruling classes and their politicians can't even abide by their own rules much of the time."

I agree, though I would re-phrase it: I agree that wrongdoing is not confined to the Left or to the Right. However, most wrongdoing is by people who know what they should do, but act against the principles they espouse ("Weakness of the flesh" - TS called it).

What is, I believe, distinctive of the Left is in certain circumstances believing that criminality can be politically and morally justifiable.

CB said...

Critical Eye

What are you banging on about?

Was defying apartheid laws in South Africa "criminality"?

Is it "criminality" for Christians openly to profess their religion in Saudi Arabia?

Simon de Montfort said...


Why stop at Saudi? The People's Paradise of Cuba isn't exactly whiter than white when it comes to dealing with pesky God-botherers.

If it's bad enough to exercise the minds of the dyed-in-the-hair-shirt types at Amnesty then it's got to be bad.

If memory serves this is where Mr and Mrs Sheridan honeymooned.

Peter said...

"Number 10 has announced that Mr Andrew Coulson, the PMs Director of Communications, is to resign today as he wishes to spend more time listening to other peoples families"

Joke from the web -just a bit of fun. Not sure who to attribute it to.

James Doleman said...

To Simon

hello Simon, we deal with queries about comments by email, address is

best regards


Simon de Montfort said...

Thanks James,

I'll e-mail tomorrow.

Thank you meantime for the hard work you've put in.


Critical-eye said...

CB said

"Was defying apartheid laws in South Africa "criminality"?"

There was a serious question to be addressed by those who opposed apartheid: namely, what is the permissible limit to what may be done in opposition - for example, is it permissible to oppose apartheid by killing policemen?

The Left view which I described would hold: Apartheid is evil, therefore, anything may be done to oppose it.

This is a view which you get if you combine two propositions: first, you make your political objectives moral absolutes; and second, you hold that because your objective is a moral absolute the end justifies the means and anything may be done to further the end.

Examples from closer to home: Hunting with dogs is evil, therefore hunt sabotage is justified; animal testing is evil, therefore, attacking laboratories is justified; police breaking up demonstrations is evil, therefore you may retaliate with bricks.

Of course, this view is an extreme and many on the Left would not claim to agree with it. My contention is that it is a tendency of Left thinking which influences even those on the left who would explicitly reject it.

This may seem to be an ideological debate which has nothing to do with the proper subject of this blog - but we amy ask how far such thinking influenced TS's political career, his willingness to be sent to prison for his causes, and even his willingness to commit perjury?

Onlooker said...

Critical-eye, interesting argument but isn't it the far Right which currently considers the shooting of abortion doctors acceptable? Maybe egotistic absolutism is the cause. People often can't accept they're in the wrong. Some have to believe they're right, not only for themselves but for everyone else. When that becomes extreme, people can be shot for their dissenting opinions. But right-wing dictatorships are as guilty as left-wing ideologies in crushing the freedom of thought and its expression.

In the Sheridan's case, I suspect ego will not allow contrition. Plus, of course, having built up a small but vocal following, his supporters are unlikely to be advising apology to the courts for misusing them. Having 'sold' his story to them, how can he step back from it now?

Jeffrey Archer didn't have that hurdle, but the cases are remarkably similar - even to a co-accused who provided alibi and false diary entries and was found not guilty, plus the resolute support of wife and family - a newspaper story about his sex-life which he disproved by lying to manipulate the courts and win damages. He didn't need the money, and I doubt Sheridan did it for money either. But their reasons strike me as alike, even though their politics are not.

Peter said...

Critical Eye,

Your position is that (some) left wing people are ideologically more prone to commit crime and justify the committing of crime than non-political or right wing people.

No harm done I suppose that you hold that personal view.

It would clearly disbar you from sitting on a jury though if someones politics was an issue.

In terms of trying to relate your theory of crime to Sheridan I feel compelled to point out that your premise has a basic, perhaps fatal, flaw.

Sheridan has consistently denied committing perjury in the libel trial.

He denied it during the police investigation.

He pleaded Not Guilty to the charge of perjury.

The Crown deleted the charge that Sheridan suborned others to commit perjury.

Sheridan was very critical of others who he claims perjured themselves in his trial for political causes.

Indeed in relation to his own numerous alibi witnesses he specifically asked them to reaffirm that they were telling the truth.

So what more does the poor lad need to do to show he is not
(in his view) a perjurer himself and that he does not actually support the use of perjury?

Your theory that his political ideology has led him to avow it is at a dead end at the point of proof. No?

The jury presumably felt Sheridan had committed perjury.

The idea that the Guilty verdict implies Sheridan has a pre-disposition to crime due to his left wing ideology is bizarre.

To suggest it does is to bend an already weak premise to breaking point. Your theory remains just that.

Proof of a left wing tendency to commit and excuse crime is still lacking.



CB said...

Critical Eye

You are shifting the terms of the debate. It may well be criminality to kill policemen. That is forbidden in most societies. Clearly I am referring to such things as black people wanting to sit on whites only seats in parks, and the like.

The question of the permissible limit has been introduced by you because you can no longer sustain your original argument about the simple correlation between left wing views and "criminality". It is a separate question, like this: we all deplore the Nazis. Does that justify the carpet bombing of German cities?

Simon de M: Absolutely right. Add Cuba to the list of malefactor states. Add China. Add any country where human rights are violated. In these countries, people who assert their religious or, for that matter, cultural or sexual rights, are not infected by "criminality".