Andy coulson

Downing Street aides get their payout

When you say the name ‘Andy Coulson,’ it’s hard not to think of the phone hacking scandal. The former News of the World editor served five months of an 18-month sentence for conspiracy to commit phone hacking in 2014 but has now managed to rebound from Belmarsh to business success, with a PR firm making half-a-million pounds a year. According to company accounts, the one-time Downing Street aide’s new outfit Coulson Partners Limited – for which Coulson is listed as the sole director and owner of 100 per cent of shares – declared total equity of £496,000 at the end of 2021. It pulled in more than a million last

‘For the Jenni, not the few’: the anti-Boris attack line Labour missed

If the age of deference were still with us, the mortuary tag has now been tied to its toe following Prince Andrew’s Newsnight interview. I saw him a couple of weeks ago at a military charity event where he did a good job, showing how the royals frequently but quietly add value to important causes. His performance in front of Emily Maitlis, fast becoming Britain’s best interviewer, was (to put it politely) less impressive. As is often the case, the advisers get a good kicking when such moments go wrong. But it was the words that came out of His Royal Highness’s mouth that were the problem. Boris must be chuffed

Andy Coulson’s PR exercise

When Andy Coulson stepped down as David Cameron’s director of communications in 2011 over phone hacking allegations, it made front page news. In the subsequent trial, Coulson was sentenced to 18 months for conspiracy to hack phones. So as Coulson embarks on a new chapter in his life, Mr S was intrigued to read an interview Coulson has given to the Evening Standard to promote his communications company, Coulson Chappell. In the interview, Coulson answers a range of pre-set questions that a celebrity is asked each week for ES Magazine‘s ‘My London’ section. When asked who his hero is, Coulson names Winston Churchill, before claiming the politician would not ‘have survived more than

Revealed: the Andy Coulson joke that Nick Clegg cut from his conference speech

Although Nick Clegg is under increasing pressure in some quarters to write a tell-all book about his time in coalition, the closest he has got to this so far is by signing up to an agency that has advertised his services for up to $55,000 per speech. Happily, Clegg’s former speechwriter comes at no such cost. Phil Reilly has started a blog detailing his time working for the former deputy Prime Minister. In this, Reilly recalls a phone hacking joke he wrote for Clegg back in 2010: ‘For days, Nick Clegg had been toing and froing over whether he could tell a joke about Andy Coulson. It was September 2010 and

Podcast: the high priests of health and the collapse of Andy Coulson’s perjury trial

Is the NHS bossing around the British people too much? On this week’s View from 22 podcast, Douglas Murray and Christopher Snowden discuss this week’s Spectator cover feature on the high priests of health and how the NHS is telling us how to live our lives. Does this level of continued intrusion show that the NHS is unsustainable on its current form? And what are the myths of the so-called obesity epidemic? James Forsyth and Isabel Hardman also discuss the latest in the Labour leadership contest. Why has Yvette Cooper struggled to define what she stands for? Can Liz Kendall make up the lost ground to the other candidates? And is there anything that will harm Andy Burnham’s chances? We also look back on

Paul Dacre: Watch out, BBC. The political class may come for you next

The below is an edited version of a speech given yesterday by Paul Dacre to the NewstrAid Benevolent Fund, a charity for those who sell and distribute newspapers and magazines. Newspapers are all only too painfully aware of how we are having to adapt to survive in today’s modern, fast-paced, ever-changing digital media world. But the way I look at it, we have always had to fight to survive, ever since the birth of the mass media in the 1890s – the decade, if I may indulge in a little product placement, in which Alfred Harmsworth launched the Daily Mail. In more than a century since then, we’ve grown and we’ve

Should Cameron be worried about Neville Thurlbeck’s New Year surprise?

Given how close the phone-hacking scandal got to the heart of Downing Street, the Tories will be hoping nothing will provoke more questions this side of the election about Cameron’s hiring of Andy Coulson. So there will be some worries about an intriguing book deal done late last night. Neville Thurlbeck – the jailed News of the World chief reporter and, more recently, Coulson’s cell mate in Belmarsh –  will be telling all, in true tabloid style, just a couple of months before polling day. Political publishers Biteback have bought up Thurlbeck’s ‘Tabloid Secrets’ for an undisclosed sum and Mr S understands the book is due in the New Year. Happy reading, Prime Minister.

Hacking Trial: the movie

We may have had the verdicts and the sentences in the hacking trial, but the biggest question remains unanswered: who’s going to play everyone in the movie? There’s one clear and obvious frontrunner for the part of Rebekah Brooks: Bonnie Langford. Sadly, however, Ms Langford has heavy panto commitments and cannot be released for filming. So we’ll have to make do with a B-list purveyor of ginge instead – Nicole Kidman, perhaps, or Julianne Moore. (Cate Blanchett might have got a look-in if we’d avoided the temptation to base everything on the hair, but Brooks herself never did so why should we?) Andy Coulson should be played by Ewan McGregor,

Phone hacking: Andy Coulson jailed for 18 months

Andy Coulson has this morning been jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to hack phones. He was sentenced at the Old Bailey along with four colleagues: Greg Miskiw and Neville Thurlberk were given 6 months, James Weatherup was jailed for four months, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work, and Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work. There are still outstanding cases to be heard, but it has been interesting to see how little political impact this case has had. There seemed to be a sense in Westminster that the hacking trial, regardless

The War on Rupert Murdoch is the Real Story of the Hacking Saga.

The hacking scandal was about many things but the way in which it has played-out and, crucially, been reported reminds us that it has chiefly been about power. Not just the power of the press when weighed against the power of parliament but the relative positions of power and authority within the press. In that respect it has been a confusing, complex kind of conflict. You might view the newspapers as over-mighty magnates whose powers should have been curbed long ago. In this picture, the press barons have been so revolting – in every sense – that their activities began to threaten the security – and decency – of the


Boulton and Co

Journalists do, occasionally, say something nice about politicians. It does not happen very often; but, when it does, it’s usually heartfelt. Adam Boulton hosted a party at the Savoy last night to celebrate his 25 years at Sky News. Boulton heaped praise on those politicians with whom he has worked while covering the life and times of ‘5 Prime Ministers, 5 US Presidents, 5 Labour leaders, 6 Tory leaders and 4 Lib Dems – and counting’. He said: ‘As journalists, we need people who are prepared to engage our profession with their arguments and accountability. And you do. And often. And properly, which is vital to the democratic process. For

Rod Liddle

Rebekah Brooks takes her place in a perfect picture of modern Britain

What image comes to mind when we think of Britain today? I was moved to contemplate this question after reading the Prime Minister’s inspiring treatise on British values, which seemed to involve ‘being quite nice’ and not referring to other people as kaffir and then trying to blow them up. Fair enough. I suppose — as an image of Britain, Sonny and Cher jihadis bringing their arcane and vicious sandblown squabble to the streets of London is perhaps a more modernist take on John Major’s vision of an old maid cycling to morning communion through the early morning mist. I suppose cyclists should be somewhere in our new vision of

Convict the guilty. Keep the press free

We have not heard much from Hugh Grant this week. Nor from Max Mosley, Steve Coogan or any of the other bizarre array of celebrities and moguls who wanted to use the phonehacking scandal as an excuse to end British press freedom. For some time, they argued that the press had become a law unto itself, and it was time for politicians to regulate it. We have just seen why such a draconian step is not necessary. Hacking is already against the law, which is why £100 million has just been spent trying former executives of Rupert Murdoch’s News International. The woman who used to run the company, Rebekah Brooks,


Attorney General was inside No 10 when Cameron recorded Coulson statement

Mr Justice Saunders, who presided over the phone hacking trial, is not impressed with David Cameron and Ed Miliband. He has branded the various political interventions of yesterday afternoon as ‘unsatisfactory so far as justice and the rule of law are concerned.’ Stern words from the bench. One wonders what the government’s lawyers make of them. Indeed, Mr S understands that Dominic Grieve QC, the Attorney General (the government’s chief legal officer), was actually inside No. 10 when Cameron was recording his ‘full and frank apology’ yesterday. Did Grieve advise the Prime Minister? Mr S contacted Grieve’s office. A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office reiterated the long standing convention that they neither confirm

Isabel Hardman

The hacking trial has seen the Tories unite, but may have damaged Cameron’s character

Today must have been the first that David Cameron thought ‘thank goodness for the Leveson report’ as he prepared for Prime Minister’s Questions. He used the report as a shield in his exchanges with Ed Miliband, waving it about at the despatch box and saying that he had ‘totally disproved him using the evidence’ on a series of accusations that the Labour leader had made about whether or not he ignored warnings about hiring Andy Coulson and bringing him into Downing Street. listen to ‘PMQs: Cameron and Miliband on Coulson’ on Audioboo

James Forsyth

Gus O’Donnell: I was not involved in Coulson’s appointment

David Cameron’s claim at PMQs that Gus O’Donnell had been asked at Leveson about whether he had offered any warnings on the hiring of Andy Coulson, was met with bafflement. But O’Donnell’s written submission does address this point. Question 30 – Please set out in full for the inquiry details of your role, if any, in relation to the appointment by the Prime Minster of Andy Coulson to a post in No.10. Your account should include a full explanation of the basis on which you were asked to advise. Mr Coulson was brought in as a special adviser to the Prime Minister. I was not involved in the process of

David Cameron: I’m sorry for my ‘wrong decision’ in hiring Andy Coulson

In the past few minutes, David Cameron has apologised in Downing Street for a ‘wrong decision’ in hiring Andy Coulson. He said in 2011 that he would apologise if he had been lied to about phone hacking, and now he has. It wasn’t the longest of apologies, but it came quickly. He said: ‘Well, I take full responsibility for employing Andy Coulson, I did so on the basis of undertakings I was given by him about phone hacking and those turn out not to be the case. I always said that if they turned out to be wrong, I would make a full and frank apology and I do that

Portrait of the week | 31 October 2013

Home A storm passed over England, with plenty of warning. The strongest gust, of 99mph, was recorded at Needles Old Battery, Isle of Wight. Of 570,000 households that lost power, 160,000 were left without it by sunset. About 200 trees fell on railway lines. A crane collapsed on to the roof of the Cabinet Office in Whitehall. A fourth big energy company, of Britain’s six, announced price rises, making the average increase 9.1 per cent. Tony Cocker, the chief executive of E.on, told the Commons energy committee that he had written to David Cameron, the Prime Minister, suggesting a full investigation of the market. A woman intent upon visiting the

Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson had a six-year-long affair

Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson had an affair that lasted at least six years, a jury heard today. A letter which revealed the affair was described as part of evidence produced by the prosecution in the trial of the two defendants. The letter had been written from Brooks to Coulson in 2004 and was found on her computer. Speaking for the prosecution, Andrew Edis said that ‘what Mr Coulson knew, Mrs Brooks knew too’. The pair deny charges relating to phone hacking. The trial continues. Comments have been switched off for legal reasons