Monday, 6 September 2010

Believe it or not?

It was one of those slightly uncomfortable Lobby briefings this morning where the PM’s spokesman practically refused to answer the question that was put.

Pretty much the entire session focussed on the Andy Coulson phone-hacking story, which appeared in most national papers today.

Several hacks, led by the Guardian’s Andy Sparrow, were asking whether the PM believed Coulson’s claim that he knew nothing about phone-hacking that took place at the News of The World when he was editor.

The Downing Street spokesman said: “[Coulson] has denied the allegations and the Prime Minister accepts that.”

The ensuing exchange saw hacks point out that ‘accepting’ Coulson had made a denial was not the same as ‘believing’ it, yet the spokesman still declined to use the word ‘believe’.

The exchange finished with Sparrow observing out loud that the spokesman was refusing to say that the PM believed Coulson. Something the spokesman responded to by rolling out the stock response quoted above.

The spokesman would not say whether Coulson would be suspended if the Met were to re-open the investigation, but did say that while the force was considering things it wouldn’t be right for the Home Office to look at the way the Met had handled the initial inquiry. Handy.

Meanwhile he added that Coulson, who has now offered to speak to police officers, had definitely not offered his resignation up to this point.

At the moment the Head of Comms looks safe, but the Downing Street spokesman’s comments suggest the PM knows things can change.

1 comment:

tris said...

Mr Coulson has agreed to speak to police officers has he?

How very generous and gentlemanly of him.

That's not the way most people arrange their interviews with the police.

Clearly working in number 10 must bring privileges.

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