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Was this the day Dave was going to have to sack Andy?

July 22nd, 2009

Where next in the phone-hacking saga?

If you had believed one or two posters here on Monday then today was the day that David Cameron was going to sack his PR chief, Andy Coulson. This was going to follow his appearance yesterday before the Commons culture, media and sport select committee which had summoned him following the allegations in the Guardian two weeks ago.

Well it didn’t quite work out like that. The committee didn’t really strike a blow and Coulson, who was NOTW editor when the illegal hacking took place, did not appear discomforted.

That was the verdict this morning of the PR industry publication PR Week: Under the heading “Andy Coulson Gives ‘Incredibly Sincere And Self-Effacing’ Performance” the magazine talked to industry leaders who thought he had coped well. One is quoted as saying “‘He admitted to his mistakes and was very open. People writing him off and saying he should chuck in the towel might have to think again.”

Another said: “The Guardian’s frantic and slightly desperate efforts to make the allegations stick are failing to gain traction and unless new evidence is forthcoming I would say Coulson is now out of danger.”

The question is whether the story still has any legs. With Scotland Yard, the CPS, the DPP and the PCC all saying they won’t pursue the matter any further it’s hard to say whether there will be a next stage.

In spite of this the affair, I believe, has put the focus on Coulson’s judgement in his previous job and this might mean that he won’t continue in the role for Cameron if the Tories do win the general election.

Mike Smithson