Conservative Diary

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The Guardian guns for Rupert Murdoch... and Andy Coulson

Picture 20 You can almost hear the licking of lips at The Guardian.  It reports that there is a "Trail of hacking and deceit under nose of Tory PR chief" - by which they mean Andy Coulson, Head of Communications and Planning at CCHQ.  The Guardian's clear implication is that Coulson knew a great deal about the shady activities that took place within NewsCorp during his time at the News of the World.

Alastair Campbell has posted this on his blog:

"It is not my place to advise Cameron, or Coulson. But if it were, I would be saying to Cameron to find out very quickly whether Coulson did act in any way improperly, and to act accordingly if he thinks he did. And if I were Coulson, I would be totally honest with Cameron to help him make that decision.  When the Damian McBride emails first surfaced, it was obvious where it was going to end. If Cameron thinks that this situation might also end in him having to lose his right-hand man, better to do it quickly."

We may not like its source but that's good advice.  Andy Coulson has been central to the revitalisation of the Conservative project since the summer of 2007.  He stands at the heart of David Cameron's 'West Wing'.  Losing him because of this would be a grave setback and I hope it will be unnecessary.  I hope he will be able to tell David Cameron that he was not in any way involved in the illegal phone tapping of John Prescott and others.  I hope that the enemies of the Conservative Party will be frustrated in their attempt to weaken the Cameron operation.  But Cameron must ask Andy Coulson all the necessary questions tonight so that the Conservative Party is not dangerously exposed to what may be a damaging story over the next few days.

Tim Montgomerie

* Image of Guardian front page added at midnight.


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