As Iain Dale exclusively predicted earlier, 38-year-old Andy Coulson, the former Editor of the News of the World is to be the new Director of Communications for the Conservative Party from 9th July. He will work with George Eustice,
head of media [Correction: 'the Leader's Press Secretary (Henry Macrory is Head of the Press Office'].
As Fraser Nelson writes over at The Spectator - this is a very welcome appointment. Mr Coulson fills a big gap in Team Cameron. He will know how to appeal to the striving voters that are not yet connecting with the new hug-a-hoodie Conservatism. It was, after all, Coulson's News of the World that came up with that phrase that powerfully mischaracterised Cameron's social responsibility agenda. He took the bullet for the recent royal phonetapping scandal but he still has excellent connections with the Murdoch empire. ConservativeHome has long believed that the party needs to strengthen its media operation and hopes that we now have the kind of person who will not allow future grammar-style rows to run out of control.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM CCHQ
"David Cameron today announced that former News of the World Editor Andy Coulson has been appointed as the new Director of Communications and Planning for the Conservative Party. He will take up his appointment on 9 July.
David Cameron said:
“Andy is a hugely experienced journalist. I am delighted that he has agreed to join my team as Director of Communications and Planning. Andy will make a formidable contribution as a senior member of my team in building the most effective strategy and operation to win the next general election. I look forward very much to working with him”.
Andy Coulson said:
“I am delighted to be joining David Cameron’s team and I look forward to helping the Conservative Party to return to Government under his leadership.”"
2.30pm: Guido blogs that Coulson will be critical to a 'bodyline bowling' attack on Gordon Brown. Guido's buddy Michael White writes on Guardian online that it will be vital for Coulson to hire media folk who understand television.
6pm: Ben Brogan "is assured" that Coulson will be on a whopping £400,000 a year to "take the Tory communications machine apart and rebuild it to his liking".