Miliband: PM 'wilfully ignored' warnings over Coulson


Ed Miliband has accused David Cameron of "wilful negligence" for employing Andy Coulson at 10 Downing Street despite "multiple warnings" over his role in phone hacking.

The Labour leader repeatedly accused the prime minister of having "wilfully ignored" warnings about the former editor of the News of the World, and challenged him to explain why he kept him on as his communications chief.

Mr Cameron said he took full responsibility for the decision to employ Mr Coulson and apologised again, during the session on 25 June 2014: "I am sorry, this was the wrong decision."

He stressed that the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking "made no criticism of my conduct in this regard whatsoever" and said Mr Miliband should accept its findings.

Mr Coulson was found guilty of conspiring to hack phones by a jury after an eight-month trial. Ex-News International boss Rebekah Brooks was cleared.

The jury was discharged after failing to reach verdicts on an outstanding charge of allegations of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

In the Commons, the prime minister was pressed to explain why Mr Coulson had not been subject to the "highest level of vetting" before his appointment as director of communications.

Mr Cameron emphasised that vetting was the responsibility of the-then cabinet secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell, but stressed that the Leveson Inquiry had concluded that direct vetting would not have got to the bottom of Mr Coulson's conduct at the now-defunct paper.

Mr Miliband accused the PM of trying to blame the civil service and demanded to know whether Sir Gus had raised concerns about Mr Coulson's appointment with him or his office.

Mr Cameron reiterated that all the issues being raised by Mr Miliband had been dealt with by Leveson.

"He cannot cope with the fact an eight month inquiry that cost £5m found that I had behaved correctly throughout," he told the House.

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