"In hindsight," said Cameron, I “would not have hired” former media chief Coulson. If Coulson lied to him, he would face “severe criminal charges," Cameron said.
With “Murdochgate” so dominating public thinking in Britain, and Murdoch's testimony to Parliament yesterday watched in pubs and offices around the country, Cameron cut short a trip to Africa to return home and have the last word on the scandal before official Britain goes on summer holiday.
At the heart of the attack on Cameron by Labour Party leader Ed Miliband is the extend of the influence that Murdoch enjoyed within the highest levels of the Cameron government, and whether the prime minister acted inappropriately to cover up any wrongdoing by his former aide Coulson.
Cameron today went partway down the path of contrition by further distancing himself from Coulson, also a personal friend. But the prime minister gave the impression that he simply fumbled administratively in hiring Coulson.
Mr. Miliband seized on this explanation by saying that recent evidence shows it was "not gross incompetence but a deliberate attempt to hide the facts about Mr. Coulson” that led to his hiring. Miliband said Cameron made “every effort not to hear the facts about Coulson,” and called Cameron’s statements today a “half-apology.”