My response to the Home Secretary’s statement on the phone-hacking scandal

It’s a real mistake that David Cameron did not take the initiative and respond to my call at the weekend for the Home Secretary to make a statement to MPs when the House of Commons returned today. Instead Theresa May was dragged to the Commons by Tom Watson’s urgent question.

As Tom Watson, Chris Bryant and others pointed out today, there is now new evidence about the extent of phone-tapping at the News of the World that needs to be investigated both from the New York Times investigation and the testimony of individual MPs. This issue, including the role of Mr Coulson, cannot be brushed under the carpet.

David Cameron ought to have ordered an inquiry when this new evidence came to light. By not taking the lead he has left his Home Secretary in a vulnerable and defensive place as her answers to MPs showed. As I said on Saturday, this now raises questions both about the integrity of our politics and the judgement of the Prime Minister.

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Posted September 6th, 2010 by Ed

4 Responses to “My response to the Home Secretary’s statement on the phone-hacking scandal”

  1. william says:

    since the New York Times has declined to hand over the testimony of an ex-employee of the NOTW, who was sacked for his predilection to alcohol and drugs,maybe the NYT thinks the evidence would not stand serious scrutiny.Surely a candidate to be a future Labour PM can find more important issues of the day, or am I missing something?

  2. Jayne Kirkham says:

    BBC Radio 4 broadcast an interview with the NoW journalist yesterday in their 6pm programme who directly accused Mr Coulson, on the record and on air, of instructing him to hack into phone msgs. That is strong evidence that Mr Coulson was aware of and encouraged phone hacking.

    Hacking into other people’s phones is illegal. Therefore, if the allegations were correct, Mr Coulson was instructing employees to commit criminal offences. Two of them actually went to prison for doing so.

    Those are serious allegations – much more serious than hotel-room-sharing or employing an extra adviser. Andy Coulson was apparently instrumental in advising Mr Hague to issue a lengthy and personal public statement to respond to those allegations, but has so far refused to respond publicly to the much more serious allegations raised against himself.

    At best, he is showing a serious lack of judgement. At worst, he’s instructed employees for whom he was directly responsible to commit a criminal offence and lied about it to the police and his current employer. In most people’s contracts of employment, this would be considered to be gross misconduct justifying instant dismissal. The fact that Mr Coulson is still there signifies something not quite right about the employment relationship between him and Mr Cameron. Again at best, making Mr Cameron guilty of a serious lack of judgement.

    That’s important enough for Ed Balls to raise questions about. As a shadow minister, he should be providing an effective opposition – leadership election or no.

  3. Mary nash says:

    We can be proud of our strong and vigilant Opposition Party, secure that this new so-called Coalition Govt is reminded constantly that we all expect them to be whiter than white since Cameron and Clegg have been preaching virtues while in opposition. We need to watch them like a hawk, the danger of the Coalition Govt forcing down our throats policies not even in their manifestos(wasting unaffordable £100 million on AV referendum at this time, cruel cuts in our cherished public services, complete reorganization of the NHS , rise in vat etc etc). Can’t wait till we get the new Labour Leader on the 25 Sept. We have a funny feeling it will be a formidable, impressive Shadow Cabinet, that will eat the Osbourne/Clegg/Cameron triumvirate alive. We need a Labour Govt ASAP.

  4. The Black sheep. says:

    In a world of chimpanzees I am a Monkey.

    William you’re a Chimpanzee. To suggest that Ed Balls should not be concerned about the fact that the man who sits opposite Barack Obama representing this country as it’s communication commander in chief is laughable.

    You need to take your blinkers of and become a Chimpanzee, it’s enlightening, you see things for what they are.

    DC’s right hand man is potentially staring down the barrel of an 18 month prison sentence. DC needed to act swiftly, to his credit he took paternity but that’s no excuse. Suspend him and conduct a thorough enquiry. When you’re this close to the man that runs our country you are guilty until proven innocent.

    He needs to go on a long holiday or this could spell the end of DC and the Coalition.

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