So, now it’s the turn of the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, John Yates, to resign. Last night, it was the Commissioner himself, Sir Paul Stephenson, and, on Friday, it was Murdoch’s senior colleagues, Rebekah Brooks and Les Hinton. Some of these were pushed and some jumped but this storm of resignations illustrates the seriousness with which the News of the World phone-hacking scandal is now being seen throughout the nation.
But, what about the Prime Minister’s position in all this? Andy Coulson resigned from his position as Editor of the News of the World in January 2007 after two journalists working for that paper were sent to prison for hacking into the voicemail of members of the Royal Family. Less than 6 months later, in July 2007, David Cameron gave him ” a second chance ” and appointed him to be the Conservative Party Communications Director and, after the General Election in May 2010, he appointed Andy Coulson to be the Director of Communications for the Prime Minister – a job that placed him at the very heart of the government machine. David Cameron made this appointment despite, as we now know, receiving advice from both senior members of the Liberal Democrat Party and the Editor of the Guardian newspaper that Coulson would eventually be found to be implicated to a much great degree than he had previously admitted in illegal activities at the News of the World
Sir Paul Stephenson made the point in his resignation speech that he sees no real difference between his own error of judgement in appointing a former senior executive from the News of the World to be his media advisor and what David Cameron did with Andy Coulson but that there are occasions when responsibility has to seen to be accepted by the most senior person in the organisation. In contrast, the Prime Minister has, so far, refused to even apologise for his decision. So, while the nation watches with astonishment as this scandal unfolds, the Prime Minister ducks and dives and refuses to even accept that he has made an error in judgement.
As Ed Miliband keeps saying ” the Prime Minister just doesn’t get it!”