BBC News

David Cameron: A second chance

Nick Robinson
Political editor

media captionDavid Cameron: ''The buck stops right here''

He has not been arrested, he was not speaking on oath but the Prime Minister did plead guilty.

He had "turned a blind eye" to allegations about press hacking. He had " failed to get a grip". There were, though, mitigating circumstances he claimed - he's a politician who wanted the papers to help him win.

What he did not admit to is ignoring warnings about bringing the former editor of the News of the World into Number 10. Nor did he apologise for hiring Andy Coulson who was arrested today. Indeed, David Cameron praised his former director of communications and called him "a friend".

David Cameron is, in effect, asking for a second chance - just as Coulson once did. He is promising to go straight in his relations with media executives - being less cosy and less secretive in his dealings with them.

When asked what would be different in future, his aides say it's too early to be specific but that the media and the public will be able to hold him to account if he returns to his old ways.

So, the prime minister has put himself on probation.

He knows that he could, though, be back in the dock soon to face more questions about the past - what he asked, what he was told and what others knew about Andy Coulson - and questions about the future - why his government will not block News Corps bid to takeover BSkyB after James Murdoch's confession that his staff had acted illegally, covered up what happened through a series of huge out-of-court settlements and misled Parliament.