Andy Coulson at Leveson: 10 things we learned

Including, that he retained £40,000 of News Corporation shares.

1. He retained News Corporation shares worth £40,000 throughout his time at Downing Street but was "never asked about any share or stock holdings". Coulson claimed this was because he wasn't involved "in any commercial issues". In retrospect, he wishes he had "paid more attention" to the issue.

2. In a phone conversation confirming his appointment as the Conservatives' director of communications, Coulson told David Cameron that he "knew nothing" about the phone-hacking committed by News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

3. Cameron sought no assurances after the Guardian reported in 2009 that phone-hacking was more widespread than News International claimed.

4. He "may" have had access to top-secret state material, despite only having low-level clearance.

5. The Guardian suggested to him that it was "possible" that the paper would endorse the Conservatives at the 2010 general election. Coulson's witness statement revealed: "At a drinks reception in David Cameron's office a Guardian executive told me not to 'write off' the idea of a Guardian endorsement."

6. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown offered their "commiserations" when he resigned as editor of the News of the World. Coulson could not recall whether David Cameron did.

7. He was a "little disappointed" by the manner of the Sun's endorsement of the Conservatives. "I felt it was more a rejection of Labour than a positive endorsement of us. If I'd had half the influence on The Sun that some claim, that front page would have looked very different." (The tabloid's headline was "Labour's lost it".)

8. Gordon Brown told him in 2006 that he had it "on very good authority" that Rupert Murdoch would appoint Coulson as editor of the Sun when Rebekah Brooks became chief executive of News International (Brooks's promotion was eventually announced in June 2009, more than two years after Coulson had resigned as editor of the News of the World.) Coulson interpreted this an attempt by Brown to "impress on me his closeness to Rupert Murdoch."

9. The other frontrunner to become Downing Street director of communications was Guto Harri, who went on to become Boris Johnson's Director of Communications. Harri has now left Johnson's administration and is rumoured to have accepted a senior press role at News International.

10. He was not involved in "any way, shape or form" in the handling of News Corp's bid for full control of BSkyB.

Bonus: He sat between Rupert Murdoch and Whoopi Goldberg at a post-election dinner in New York. "I spent most of my time at the table talking to her."

Former News of the World editor and Downing Street communications chief, Andy Coulson, leaves his home in London earlier today. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Theresa May’s stage-managed election campaign keeps the public at bay

Jeremy Corbyn’s approach may be chaotic, but at least it’s more authentic.

The worst part about running an election campaign for a politician? Having to meet the general public. Those ordinary folk can be a tricky lot, with their lack of regard for being on-message, and their pesky real-life concerns.

But it looks like Theresa May has decided to avoid this inconvenience altogether during this snap general election campaign, as it turns out her visit to Leeds last night was so stage-managed that she barely had to face the public.

Accusations have been whizzing around online that at a campaign event at the Shine building in Leeds, the Prime Minister spoke to a room full of guests invited by the party, rather than local people or people who work in the building’s office space.

The Telegraph’s Chris Hope tweeted a picture of the room in which May was addressing her audience yesterday evening a little before 7pm. He pointed out that, being in Leeds, she was in “Labour territory”:

But a few locals who spied this picture online claimed that the audience did not look like who you’d expect to see congregated at Shine – a grade II-listed Victorian school that has been renovated into a community project housing office space and meeting rooms.

“Ask why she didn’t meet any of the people at the business who work in that beautiful building. Everyone there was an invite-only Tory,” tweeted Rik Kendell, a Leeds-based developer and designer who says he works in the Shine building. “She didn’t arrive until we’d all left for the day. Everyone in the building past 6pm was invite-only . . . They seemed to seek out the most clinical corner for their PR photos. Such a beautiful building to work in.”

Other tweeters also found the snapshot jarring:

Shine’s founders have pointed out that they didn’t host or invite Theresa May – rather the party hired out the space for a private event: “All visitors pay for meeting space in Shine and we do not seek out, bid for, or otherwise host any political parties,” wrote managing director Dawn O'Keefe. The guestlist was not down to Shine, but to the Tory party.

The audience consisted of journalists and around 150 Tory activists, according to the Guardian. This was instead of employees from the 16 offices housed in the building. I have asked the Conservative Party for clarification of who was in the audience and whether it was invite-only and am awaiting its response.

Jeremy Corbyn accused May of “hiding from the public”, and local Labour MP Richard Burgon commented that, “like a medieval monarch, she simply briefly relocated her travelling court of admirers to town and then moved on without so much as a nod to the people she considers to be her lowly subjects”.

But it doesn’t look like the Tories’ painstaking stage-management is a fool-proof plan. Having uniform audiences of the party faithful on the campaign trail seems to be confusing the Prime Minister somewhat. During a visit to a (rather sparsely populated) factory in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, yesterday, she appeared to forget where exactly on the campaign trail she was:

The management of Corbyn’s campaign has also resulted in gaffes – but for opposite reasons. A slightly more chaotic approach has led to him facing the wrong way, with his back to the cameras.

Corbyn’s blunder is born out of his instinct to address the crowd rather than the cameras – May’s problem is the other way round. Both, however, seem far more comfortable talking to the party faithful, even if they are venturing out of safe seat territory.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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