Coulson dogged by allegations

FORMER tabloid editor Andy Coulson has been dogged by allegations of phone hacking on his watch.

He has given up two top jobs because of the continuing scandal — his position as News of the World editor and then as the Conservatives’ top spin doctor.

The Essex-boy-done-good worked his way up through the ranks at the Sunday tabloid via The Sun.

But his glittering career was left in tatters when then royal editor Clive Goodman was jailed after pleading guilty to illegally intercepting phone messages from Clarence House.

Coulson said he had “ultimate responsibility” for the scandal and apologised “unreservedly” to Princes William and Harry. He resigned his editorship in January 2007.

Months later, in May that year, Coulson was announced as director of communications and planning with the Conservative Party.

He gave the party a unique perspective. In a team dominated by public school and Oxbridge graduates, Coulson attended a state comprehensive and worked for a local paper, the Basildon Evening Echo, instead of going to university.

After turning gamekeeper, Coulson was credited with sharpening the Tories’ message when David Cameron was still seeking to establish himself as a credible alternative prime minister.

But the phone hacking scandal continued to rumble on in the background and took on a new significance when, after last year’s general election, Coulson became one of the most important figures in Number 10.

The scandal re-erupted with fresh claims about the extent of the phone hacking scandal, and the issue would not go away.

Coulson could never shake off the explosive allegations against him from his time as editor of the News of the World.

Despite denying any knowledge of the hacking, he lost his job.

When he resigned in January this year, he said: “When the spokesman needs a spokesman it’s time to move on.”

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