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21 January 2011

Andy Coulson resigns from No 10

David Cameron's director of communications stands down following latest phone-hacking revelations.

By George Eaton

It’s just been confirmed that Andy Coulson has resigned as Downing Street’s director of communications. He is understood to have informed David Cameron of his decision on Wednesday afternoon. With Tony Blair at the Iraq inquiry, this will inevitably be seen as a good day to bury bad news.

Labour will be delighted that attention has been distracted from Alan Johnson’s resignation and that Cameron’s poor judgement has been exposed.

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The PM was understandably reluctant to lose Coulson but, as the phone-hacking scandal intensified, his departure became inevitable. The suspension of Ian Edmonston, the assistant editor of the News of the World, and the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service to re-examine all material collected on the scandal meant Coulson was living on borrowed time.

As I have always argued, if he did know about the scandal he was too wicked to stay in his post, and if he didn’t know he was too stupid.

Here’s the full statement from Coulson:

I can today confirm that I’ve resigned as Downing Street director of communications. It’s been a privilege and an honour to work for David Cameron for three-and-a-half years.

I’m extremely proud of the part I’ve played in helping him reach No 10 and during the coalition’s first nine months.

Nothing is more important than the Government’s task of getting this country back on its feet.

Unfortunately, continued coverage of events connected to my old job at the News of the World has made it difficult for me to give the 110% needed in this role.

I stand by what I’ve said about those events but when the spokesman needs a spokesman, it’s time to move on.

I’ll leave within the next few weeks and will do so wishing the Prime Minister, his family, and his brilliant and dedicated team the very best for what I’m sure will be a long and successful future in Government.

And here’s the full statement from Cameron:

I am very sorry that Andy Coulson has decided to resign as my Director of Communications, although I understand that the continuing pressures on him and his family mean that he feels compelled to do so. Andy has told me that the focus on him was impeding his ability to do his job and was starting to prove a distraction for the Government.

During his time working for me, Andy has carried out his role with complete professionalism. He has been a brilliant member of my team and has thrown himself at the job with skill and dedication. He can be extremely proud of the role he has played, including for the last eight months in Government.