Downing Street's head of communications is safe in his job despite phone hacking claims relating to his tenure as News of the World editor, a senior government source has told the BBC. Labour politicians have urged fresh inquiries into the claims and ex-minister Tessa Jowell said her phone was hacked 28 times. A source told the BBC's Gary O'Donoghue that Mr Coulson "is going nowhere".
The News of the World thought Tessa Jowell was a footballer
Following the latest concerns expressed by Labour figures, BBC political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue said: "Asked whether or not his position was in doubt, one very senior source in the government said Andy is going nowhere." Our correspondent said there is "some political advantage to the Labour party to stir up as much trouble as possible for Andy Coulson" because he is "central to the Downing Street operation" since he is "very close to David Cameron and extremely important to what he does". He said No 10 "totally and utterly rejected the idea that he allowed anyone [or] asked anyone to hack into any phones".
The Downing St denials come after Lord Prescott said he would go to court to find out if his phone was tapped. And ex-Home Secretary Alan Johnson said last year's police probe could be reviewed. Meanwhile, former culture secretary Tessa Jowell told the Independent: "I know I was tapped 28 times by May 2006 because the police told me. "I had a call when I was on holiday in August 2006 from the Met to say that I had been tapped, but they asked me to do nothing except increase the security on my phone."
Conservative MP and government minister Alan Duncan, speaking on Radio 4's Any Questions, said comments by Labour MPs were part of a concerted campaign to attack the government. "Things are getting ramped up in the media based on rumour and innuendo and, as in the William Hague case, I don't think it's acceptable in this case. And unless anybody comes forward with any clear evidence this is not something that should be pursued," he said.