UK & World News
Cameron Apology: 'I Was Wrong To Hire Coulson'
David Cameron has apologised for employing Andy Coulson as his spin doctor, saying it was the "wrong decision".
Coulson, who has been convicted of phone hacking while he was working at the News of the World, was employed as Downing Street director of communications in May 2010, after he had resigned from the newspaper following the hacking scandal.
Mr Cameron said the former editor had given him "false assurances" he had no involvement in phone hacking and he had wanted to give him a "second chance".
The Prime Minister said he was given "undertakings by him on phone hacking and I always said if they turned out to be wrong I would make a full and frank apology and I do that today".
He said: "I am extremely sorry that I employed him. It was the wrong decision and I am very clear about that."
Labour leader Ed Miliband said Mr Cameron needed to do more than just apologise and has "very, very serious questions to answer".
"This was not some small or accidental mistake - he stuck with Coulson over a long period of time and it wasn't like there wasn't information out there to arouse his suspicions - he was warned by the Deputy PM, he saw front page stories, he was warned by newspaper editors and yet still he refused to act and even today, defending some of the conduct of Coulson when he worked for him," Mr Miliband said.
"I think Cameron must do much more than an apology - he must give the country an explanation as to why he did not act, why he did not act on these allegations against Andy Coulson."
Mr Cameron insisted there had never been any complaints about the work Coulson did for him as leader of the opposition before he became Prime Minister or while he was working at Downing Street.
He said he and his chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn, had questioned Coulson on "whether he knew about phone hacking" but had been assured he had not.
Mr Cameron said: "But knowing what I now know, and know that the assurances were not right, it was obviously wrong to employ him. I gave someone a second chance and it turned out to be a bad decision."
Coulson resigned from his £140,000-a-year role at No 10 in January 2011 after the NOTW allegations intensified, insisting he was not involved in the scandal but saying: "When the spokesman needs a spokesman it's time to move on."
In July 2011 Mr Cameron told the House of Commons that if it "turns out I have been lied to, that would be the moment for a profound apology. And, in that event, I can tell you I will not fall short".
Chancellor George†Osborne, who recommended Coulson to Mr Cameron, also apologised and said: "We gave him a second chance but, knowing what we now know, it's clear that we made the wrong decision."
A jury at the Old Bailey found Coulson guilty of phone hacking between 2000 and 2006, however, it is still considering its verdicts on conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office.
Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News International and ex-News of the World editor, was cleared of all charges against her, as was her husband, the racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks.