Monday News Review

Coulson & Cameron

Senior opposition politicians are calling on the government to respond to renewed accusations that Downing Street’s chief communications officer, Andy Coulson, encouraged reporters to illegally intercept messages from the cellphones of public figures when he was editor of The News of the World. At the same time, a number of people whose phone messages may have been intercepted by The News of the World during Mr. Coulson’s tenure are accusing the Metropolitan Police of failing to fully examine all the evidence in its criminal investigation in 2006 and 2007.- The New York Times

A senior Metropolitan Police officer said the force had asked the New York Times to provide any new material it had relating to the matter, including an interview it published with former reporter Sean Hoare. Mr Hoare has claimed David Cameron’s close aide was well aware News of the World staff were eavesdropping on private messages when he was editor of the paper. All five candidates in the Labour leadership contest also called for a fresh inquiry into unconfirmed claims reporters listened in to the voicemail messages of a long list of prominent figures, including politicians and celebrities. – Sky

David Cameron was under growing pressure last night to defend Andy Coulson, his director of communications, after lawyers, senior politicians and other public figures called for a full inquiry into allegations that the scale of the News of the World phone hacking scandal was much greater than police have acknowledged. All five candidates for Labour’s leadership used a debate yesterday to call into question Mr Cameron’s judgement in appointing Mr Coulson, the former News of the World editor, to head his press machine. In a further development, lawyers for a group of public figures confirmed they were to go to court this week to force Scotland Yard to disclose the names of thousands of politicians, celebrities and journalists who are believed to be victims of phone hacking. – The Independent

But pressure for the investigation to be reopened has mounted on the police following the New York Times story. All five candidates in the Labour leadership contest have called for a fresh inquiry, echoing sentiments expressed by other senior party figures in recent days. It comes after former News of the World reporter Sean Hoare said he had been personally told by Mr Coulson to intercept phone messages. In a statement, Mr Yates said the Met has asked the New York Times to provide officers with any new material it has relating to the case. – The BBC


Favourite David Miliband told the audience in Norwich he was a socialist ‘because what we can do together is more than we can do separately’. His brother, Ed, said: ‘We need to be able to criticise the injustices of capitalism’. And schools spokesman Ed Balls said: ‘We’re stronger stood together’. Andy Burnham said he wanted to change the ‘postcode of the bed you’re born in still defining life chances’, while outsider Diane Abbott told the Sky News debate that socialism ‘means making society more equal’. They lined up to savage New Labour, with Ed Miliband saying it had, like Old Labour, ‘become conservative and stuck in the past’. – Metro

In a clear sign of the shift in atmosphere within Labour since Mr Blair’s time in charge, all five hopefuls were happy to describe themselves as “socialist” when they appeared in the Sky News debate.
When the candidates were asked whether they preferred Mr Blair or Mr Brown, David Miliband deftly ducked the question by replying: “Tony is not on a ballot paper, Gordon is not on a ballot paper, Michael Foot is not on a ballot paper, Tony Benn is not on a ballot paper. It’s a new generation on the ballot paper.”  – The Scotsman

Candidates hit back at Dannatt

Labour leadership rivals yesterday slammed Tory General Sir Richard Dannatt for a “dreadful and unfair” attack on Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Sir Richard, ex-head of the Army, accused the former prime ministers of letting down British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. But Andy Burnham replied: “As Chief Secretary to the Treasury, I remember giving full support to every request for equipment.” – The Mirror

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