If David Cameron has appeared unusually distracted in recent weeks (his below-par performance at this week's PMQs being the latest example), it could partly be because of what starts on Monday: the trial of Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks. At a time when the Tories want the media and the public to focus on the economic recovery, events at the Old Bailey threaten to act as a permanent diversion.
Before the trial begins, it's worth recalling Cameron's words in the House of Commons on 20 July 2011:
I have said very clearly that if it turns out that Andy Coulson knew about the hacking at the News of the World, he will not only have lied to me, but he will have lied to the police, a select committee and the Press Complaints Commission, and of course perjured himself in a court of law. More to the point, if that comes to pass, he could also expect to face severe criminal charges.
I have an old-fashioned view about innocent until proven guilty. But if it turns out I have been lied to, that would be the moment for a profound apology. In that event, I can tell you I will not fall short.
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