James Forsyth

Coulson hearing live blog

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Andy Coulson is now giving evidence to the DCMS select committee, we'll have live coverage.

12.15pm Coulson stresses that he has had no contact with Mulcaire. He says that he regularly paid five figures for a story or a picture and so the payments to the firm of investigators did not stand out.

12.20pm Coulson is using the line ‘mistakes were made’ to deflect questioning about the arrangements during his editorship. Coulson doesn’t look delighted to be there but his repeated willingness to admit that mistakes were made is giving him some breathing space.

12.30pm Stuart Kuttner starts by asking the Tory MP Philip Davies to withdraw because he had said that he resigned because he knew about this whole business. Davies rejects the request with a chuckle.

12.40pm Kuttner can’t say if money has been paid to Goodman or Mulcaire since their conviction.

12.45 Davies is pushing Coulson on whether others than the Royal editor using phone tapping, Coulson says there’s no evidence linking the News of the World to Mulcaire’s other taps of people like Elle McPherson. And that’s it from Davies who was quite aggressive in his questioning but didn’t get very far.

12.50pm Coulson tells Janet Anderson that there ‘wouldn’t be a hope of a public interest defence’ in the Goodman case. She then asks him if he ever in his twenty year career knew about phone tapping, voice mail interception or any other illegal activity. Coulson says such stuff was in the ether but he didn’t have any direct suspicions.

1pm Paul Farrelly tries to push Coulson on whether he can have a relationship of trust with the Palace now given what his journalist did. Coulson says there’s no problem at his end. So far, Tory high command must be feeling very good about how this is going.

1.20pm Coulson tells Adam Price that he can’t recall ever asking Goodman where one of his stories came from.

1.25pm Coulson rather cheekily points out that he didn't know what Goodman was up to just as (implicitly) Tom Watson didn't know what McBride was up to.

1.30pm Here comes Tom Watson. He starts by asking if Goodman deserved a jail sentence, Coulson says he won’t argue with the judgement but won’t endorse it.

1.35pm Coulson tells Tom Watson that his sole income was from News of the World and now from the Tory party. He stresses he has received no money from advertising or pr firms during the period between him resigning from the NOTW and moving to the Tories.

That's Watson done and no blood drawn.

1.45pm Coulson says that there’s ‘more evidence that my phone was hacked [by Mulcaire] than that John Prescott’s was’. 

1.50pm And that is that. Andy Coulson and the Tory leadership must be pretty delighted with how that went. No new revelations, no blood drawn and no further damage done to Andy Coulson. I suspect that they will be pretty confident he is out of the woods now.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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