As it happened: Andy Coulson at the Leveson Inquiry - Live coverage - The Independent

As it happened: Andy Coulson at the Leveson Inquiry

The former News of the World editor and No 10 spin doctor testified under oath this afternoon. Read his evidence as it unfolded below.

  • The key points from today:

    - Coulson says he hasn't spoken to Brooks for some time "for obvious reasons".
    - Describes himself as not "particularly close" to Rupert Murdoch, though he was "warm and supportive".
    - Says he didn't speak to Rupert Murdoch about support (under his editorship) for Labour
    - Both Gordon Brown and Tony Blair sent commiserations when he left the News of the World, but he cannot recall whether David Cameron did too
    - Guto Harri was also in the frame for the job in No 10, which is already on public record (ironically, Mr Harri is shortly to begin working for News International)
    - He was finally appointed by the Tories because of his "broad experience" in newspapers, and not his connections with News International.
    - David Cameron sought "no assurances" about Coulson after the first hacking revelations in 2009.
    - As widely reported this morning, Coulson attended meetings for which he didn't have sufficient security clearance
    - He received severance payments from News International while he was at No 10
    - Coulson disagrees strongly with the findings of an industrial tribunal that found him guilty of bullying a NOTW reporter
    5/10/2012 1:34:02 PM
  • Coulson is blase about his bullying of sports reporter Driscoll: "It was a story about whether or not Arsenal was going to be wearing purple shirts, not who's going to be the next manager of England"
    5/10/2012 3:23:22 PM
  • Coulson says he supported Mr Dunn in trying to get Driscoll's relationship with the NoW back on track. (in between calling for him to be fired).
    5/10/2012 3:24:11 PM
  • Coulson says he disagrees with the Driscoll industrial tribunal's findings.
    5/10/2012 3:24:25 PM
  • Jay: 'You disagree, then, with the tribunal's clear findings?' Coulson: 'Yes, I do' #Leveson
  • Coulson wants to make something clear: "If there was a deal, and if there was a conspiracy as some people are suggesting, why was Vince Cable given the job?" Cameron had the right to appoint him and Coulson called him "combative".
    5/10/2012 3:25:57 PM
  • Jay points out Cable was already the business secretary, so it would fall within his remit.
    5/10/2012 3:26:13 PM
  • #Coulson asks, if there was a conspiracy between News International and Cameron, "why on earth" he gave the Business Sec job to Vince Cable
  • Coulson: "the conspiracy suggests this deal was done sometime before" the election.
    5/10/2012 3:27:25 PM
  • RT @Matt1Driscoll: Had lovely pork pie for lunch. Having to try and consume a few more for tea
  • Leveson's good question: has the relation between the press and the govt. become either close or "no longer condusive to good government".
  • Coulson: "The Prime Minister himself said it got too cosy and I'm not minded to disagree with him."
    5/10/2012 3:28:43 PM
  • #Coulson implies a softly-softly approach at his No. 10 press operation. (Others recall a more tribal, grudge-holding bent.)
  • RT @DerbyFreelancer: “@martin_hickman:If you want all background,only cogent account is Dial M for Murdoch. £13.49 here ...
  • Coulson looks awkward, clasped hands as he doesn't disagree with Cameron that the media and the government has got too close. He says "if you erect more barriers" between the press and politics, you will effect a greater disengagement of the population at large.
    5/10/2012 3:29:44 PM
  • Coulson says he does not want Leveson to 'erect more barriers' between press and politicians. #Leveson #Coulson
  • Huge strategic error by #Coulson. Asked for any additional comments he protests loudly "There was no conspiracy over BSkyB".
  • "One point that troubles me is the idea that friendship is always based on some ulterior motive" Coulson reveals his sentimental side.
    5/10/2012 3:32:27 PM
  • Coulson's argument that people feel disengaged with politics and that the press shouldn't be hindered reporting on the subject does not seem particularly sound, considering his job; he was basically an obfuscator, a spin doctor who made politics even more of a sham and eroded confidence in the press's impartiality.
    5/10/2012 3:33:36 PM
  • RT @Hayley_Barlow: Was #Coulson the best of my NotW editors? I don't recall. #Leveson
  • Everyone seems a bit tired at Leveson and it's only 4:30!
    5/10/2012 3:34:18 PM
  • #Coulson finished at #Leveson. If you think about the damage he could have done to Cameron, but didn't, that was an impressive performance
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