Peter Hoskin

Labour turn up the heat on Coulson

Labour turn up the heat on Coulson
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As we drift into the weekend, Labour are stepping up their attacks on Andy Coulson. Already today, Tom Watson, Alan Johnson, John Prescott and Chris Bryant have all drawn noisy attention to the allegations made in that New York Times Magazine article about phone tapping and the News of the World – and their efforts have already pushed the story to the top of the BBC news agenda. Indeed, Bryant has even called for David Cameron to sack Coulson. Labour types will no doubt repeat that message constantly over the next few days.

So far, the Tories are standing behind their comms chief. A statement from No.10 reiterated that Coulson "totally and utterly denies" the allegations made against him. But there's little denying that this is trickier for them now than when this story flared up last year. First, there's an ingredient which was more or less missing then: direct testimony, whether true or not, that he was aware of phone tapping at the NotW. And then there's the fact that the Tories are now operating in government, where public scrutiny is even more exacting and less forgiving than it would be otherwise. Their hope will be simple: that there are no further developments.