Back in October, Tom Watson sent a letter to the Prime Minister ahead of the Dispatches report ‘Tabloids, Tories and Phone Hacking’, questioning Andy Coulson’s continued employment at Number 10: “If a government minister were to be the subject of similar allegations, they would be forced to stand down immediately while an investigation is carried out.”

The letter was mentioned in the Commons earlier, and Watson’s website has gone down due to a huge surge in traffic. We’ve republished it here in full:

4 October 2010

Dear Mr Cameron,

NEWS OF THE WORLD PHONE HACKING SCANDAL

You will be aware of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s Press Standards, Privacy and Libel report of February 2010 in which Mr Andy Coulson, your Communications Director, told MPs that he had no recollection of incidences where phone hacking took place whilst he was Editor of the News of the World.

New allegations made today to Channel 4’s Dispatches programme, by a former senior executive of News International, however, claim that Mr Coulson did in fact know about hacking, and that he listened to tapes of intercepted voicemail messages. These allegations are new, far reaching and warrant investigation.

The report to be broadcast on the Dispatches programme casts doubt on the accuracy of the oral evidence provided to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on 21 July 2009 by Mr Coulson in which he said: “I was, as you know, Editor of the News of the World for four years from January 2003 until January 2007. During that time I never condoned the use of `phone hacking and nor do I have any recollection of incidences where `phone hacking took place”.

Accordingly, I think it is necessary for you to make a statement in Parliament on this matter next week. If a government minister were to be the subject of similar allegations, they would be forced to stand down immediately while an investigation is carried out. We are now at the point where I firmly believe you should consider a similar course of action with regards to Mr Coulson’s conduct.

I am sure you would agree misleading a parliamentary committee of the House of Commons is a very serious matter, and therefore these allegations need to be investigated. Parliament and the public would expect nothing less from you.

I look forward to hearing from you, at the earliest opportunity, in response to the points that I have raised.

Yours sincerely

 

Tom Watson

Member of Parliament for West Bromwich East

UPDATE: Number 10 have now released a letter, which. Cue paroxysms from the right. Cameron didn’t even remember having replied in the chamber — because it was a stonewalling, non-reply which <em>ignored</em> the substantive allegations.

  1. Bill Chapman says:

    David Cameron really has to go. We just cannot afford to have a Prime Minister with such resolutely poor government. His colleagues in the cabinet should tell him that his time is up.

  2. Dominic Dowling says:

    David Cameron’s handling of this entire affair has been abysmal. His lack of judgement has been exposed, and it becomes clearer with each passing day just how enmeshed his inner circle and the amoral Murdoch press are.

  3. Mainstream student says:

    More moronically stupid lefty lies.

    Here is more proof that Political Scrapbook have been caught out lying again, a copy of Cameron’s reply:

    ” ‘1O DOWNING STREET
    LONDON SW1A 2AA
    20 October 2010
    Mr Tom Watson MP

    Thank you for your letter of 4 October.

    The Standards and Privileges Committee and the Home Affairs Committee have
    both announced inquiries. The Home Secretary has made an oral statement to the House.

    In addition the police have said previously that they will investigate whether there is new evidence to consider. Mr Coulson has made himself available should they wish to speak to him.

    THE PRIME MINISTER”

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/7113078/camerons-letter-to-watson.thtml

    Come on, you don’t have to lie to get people to read your blog, do you?

  4. You conveniently missed a part of Watson’s question out. Here it is:

    “I’m still waiting for a reply.”

    Two or three other members also demanded to know why the PM hadn’t replied, to howls of derision from the Labour benches.

    But oh, what’s this? Just released by Number 10 Downing Street…..

    _________________________

    1O DOWNING STREET
    LONDON SW1A 2AA

    20 October 2010

    Mr Tom Watson MP

    Thank you for your letter of 4 October.

    The Standards and Privileges Committee and the Home Affairs Committee have both announced inquiries. The Home Secretary has made an oral statement to the House.

    In addition the police have said previously that they will investigate whether there is new evidence to consider. Mr Coulson has made himself available should they wish to speak to him.

    THE PRIME MINISTER

    _________________________

    Looking forward to you calling on Watson to apologise for lying to parliament.

    By the way, the multiple comments from the same IP address: it’s called a house share. Five of us share one property because Gordon’s house price bubble prevents us from ever owning our own. #thanksgordon

  5. Something you won’t read on Red Rag:

    In 2006, the Attorney General warned No10 that there were thousands of victims of Mulcaire. In 2006. No10. Under Labour. Thousands.

    Oops.

  6. @G1gahurtz: Would you not prefer to be known as “SG1974″ or perhaps “Lucy Adams”?

    @Guido: We’ll update with the reply but this reply is a red herring.

    Tom Watson: I must challenge the Prime Minister on the accuracy of one of his assertions. He said that nobody raised Andy Coulson’s conduct with him whilst he worked for the Prime Minister. I did in a letter on the 4th of October, last year.

    In this respect, Cameron did ignore the letter — by claiming that nobody had raised Coulson’s conduct with him. This is also the case in that he ignored the substantive and growing allegations against Coulson, batoning down the hatches and hoping the storm would pass.

    Perhaps you should take your own advice and engage in the comments here:
    http://order-order.com/2010/12/11/they-huffed-and-puffed-coulson-still-standing/

  7. @Laurence

    Neither. Can’t you read?

    “By the way, the multiple comments from the same IP address: it’s called a house share. Five of us share one property because Gordon’s house price bubble prevents us from ever owning our own. #thanksgordon”

    But I digress. Some rather desperate interpretation in your statement…

    “In this respect, Cameron did ignore the letter — by claiming that nobody had raised Coulson’s conduct with him. ”

    Yes, in the respect you’ve come up with yourself to try to cover up Watson’s lie and cover your ass. But in the real respect, bullshit.

    1. Watson said he is still waiting for a reply. HE GOT A REPLY. Watson lied. That is the point made above. So major fail, as the kids say.
    2. Cameron’s statement related to Coulson’s conduct while he was at No10. He made this clear twice in the house. You can’t use the answer to one question and transpose it as the answer to a different one to suit your own agenda.

    Hang in there. You will get something right soon.

  8. Left wing student “journalist” fails again. Haha.

    Guido lands more punches on the Conservatives a week than this rag has ever done in its history. But we come here for the laughs, so don’t ever change.

    G1ga, put t’kettle on. LOL.

    PS Can you ask Red Rag where this racehorse has disappeared to?

  9. Discuss? Who? There’s hardly anyone here, and half of them aren’t impressed with your attempts at political bloggery. Red Rag is only here to try and get his own readership into three figures.

    How about answering? No, didn’t think so. You’d rather ignore the inconvenient and difficult points and refuse to accept even the possibility that more than one person could live in one property and share a computer.

    We’ll do your job for you, and cut your readership down by a few percentage points.

    See ya.

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