Conservative PM David Cameron, whose former communications director, once an editor at the now-closed News of the World, is among those indicted in the phone hacking scandal, defended his actions and promised to exact justice in front of Parliament Wednesday:
Prime Minister David Cameron told British lawmakers Wednesday that if he knew then what he knows now about his former communications director, former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, he would not have offered him the job.
However, he insisted that Coulson should be considered “innocent until proven guilty” of phone hacking or of hiding it while at News of the World. But, he said, if Coulson lied about it, he should be prosecuted.
“I have said very clearly that if it turns out Andy Coulson knew about the hacking at the News of the World, he will not only have lied to me but he will have lied to the police, to a select committee, to the Press Complaints Commission and of course perjured himself in a court of law,” Cameron said. “More to the point, if that comes to pass, he could also expect to face severe criminal charges.”
He said if it turns out Coulson lied to him, “that would be a moment for a profound apology. And in that event, I can tell you I will not fall short.”
Coulson, who resigned his government post in January, has since been arrested.
Opposition leader Ed Miliband said after Cameron’s statement that the prime minister’s decision to hire Coulson left him “hamstrung by a conflict of interests” when police began investigating allegations of illegal phone hacking by the News of the World.
While it seems unlikely his (relatively thin) connection to the phone hacking scandal will hurt Cameron, it can’t be helping his image, and Labor must be hoping to ride the wave of public anxiety about the British institutions–police, politicians, media–tainted by all of this back to victory in the next election.