The latest on the Andy Coulson affair

Cameron stands firm as Mandelson becomes entangled in phone-hacking scandal.

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Over at Liberal Conspiracy, Sunny Hundal has performed a valuable public service by rounding up the latest revelations in the Andy Coulson phone-hacking saga. Most eye-catching is a report, from the Independent on Sunday, that Peter Mandelson's phone was hacked and that he spoke to the Metropolitan Police about it.

Meanwhile, the Observer reveals that the Met possesses documents relating to the mobile-phone records of Mandelson's former colleague John Prescott. These include two "self-billing invoices", made out by News International Supply Company Ltd to the private investigator Glen Mulcaire.

A letter concerning the invoices sent to Prescott by Scotland Yard's legal services directorate reads as follows:

One appears to be for a single payment of £250 on 7/5/2006 labelled "Story: other Prescott Assist -txt". The second, also for £250, on 21/5/2006 contains the words "Story: Other Prescott Assist -txt urgent".

As I observed yesterday, Downing Street continues to play the deadest of dead bats on a story that becomes more lurid by the day. According to the Mail on Sunday, "David Cameron has told friends he will stand by his chief spin doctor, Andy Coulson, over claims that he knew journalists on a national newspaper were phone-tapping while he was its editor."

And in a characteristically bright-eyed and bushy-tailed appearance on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show this morning, the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, refused to answer "hypothetical questions" over the likely fate of the Downing Street communications director, should it turn out that he knew that phone-hacking was taking place on his watch at the News of the World.

Jonathan Derbyshire is executive opinion editor of the Financial Times. He was formerly managing editor of Prospect and culture editor of the New Statesman.

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