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20 July 2011

David Cameron statement: live blog

Minute-by-minute coverage of the Prime Minister's statement on the media and the police.

By George Eaton

Stay tuned for live coverage from 11:30am.

11:33: We’re off. The Speaker begins with a short statement on the “wholly unacceptable” attack on Rupert Murdoch at yesterday’s select committee hearing. He announces that he has set up an independent investigation into the security failure.

11:35 Cameron begins his statement. Until we sort this issue out, he says, we won’t be able to get back to other issues such as the economy and welfare reform.

11:36 To groans, the PM praises the Commons for its role in forcing News Corp to abandon its bid for BSkyB.

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11:36 Cameron promises to answer “all of the key questions about my role and that of my staff”.

11:37 The PM is now announcing the membership of the judicial inquiry into the scandal. The inquiry will look at the behaviour of broadcast and social media as well as the press, Cameron says.

11:39 Cameron moves on to the police. His priority is to ensure that the role of the Met continues seamlessly, he says.

11:41 The whole affair raises questions about the ethics of our police, says Cameron.

11:43 Cameron says his staff behaved “entirely properly”. He defends his chief of staff Ed Llewellyn’s decision to reject John Yates’s offer of a briefing on the investigation.

11:45 Former NoW deputy editor Neil Wallis provided Coulson with “informal advice”, says Cameron. But he was never paid or contracted by the Conservative Party.

11:46 Cameron says he will offer a “profound apology” if it transpires that Coulson lied to him. But, “with hindsight”, he adds, he would not have offered him a job. And Coulson, he suspects, would not have taken it.

11:48 The PM ends with a thinly-veiled attack on Ed Miliband for “political point scoring”.

11:51 Miliband is speaking now. He asks Cameron whether he can assure the House that the BSkyB bid was not raised in any of his meetings with News International executives.

11:54 The Prime Minister was compromised by his relationship with Coulson, says Miliband. That’s why he declined briefings from his staff.

11:55 This is punchy staff from Miliband. “Cameron made a deliberate attempt to hide from the facts about Mr Coulson,” he says. The PM was caught in a “tragic conflict of loyalty”.

11:58 It’s not about hindsight, says Miliband. It’s about all the information and warnings that Cameron ignored. He must provide a “full apology” for bringing Coulson into the heart of Downing Street.

12:00 Cameron is back on his feet, responding to Miliband. He offers his standard defence of Coulson, that no one has raised any questions about the job he did at No 10, and points out that only one party leader – Miliband – continues to employ a former News International journalist (Tom Baldwin).

12:02 The PM points out that Murdoch said the politician he was closest to was Gordon Brown, who Miliband was an adviser to.

Labour, he adds, ignored select committee reports, reports from the information commissioner and the failed police investigation. They were “the slumber party”.

12:09 Tom Watson points out that he wrote to Cameron about Coulson’s apparent knowledge of phone hacking and is yet to receive a reply. Cameron responds by paying “tribute” to Watson’s work but emphasises that the complaint was not about his work at Downing Street.

12:11 We’re going to wrap up the live blog now. Stay tuned for more comment and analysis on The Staggers.

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Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
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