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10 May 2012updated 26 Sep 2015 7:17pm

The Guardian considered backing the Tories

Andy Coulson says the paper told him a Conservative endorsement was "possible".

By George Eaton

In light of recent events, this extract from Andy Coulson’s witness statement to the Leveson inquiry is rich with irony:

There was even a time when The Guardian suggested to me that their support was possible. At a drinks reception in David Cameron’s office a Guardian executive told me not to ‘write off’ the idea of a Guardian endorsement. I chose not to count on it.

For more evidence of the paper’s flirtation with the Tories, see this leader from September 2008 (headlined “Progress In Blue”):

There have been moments in the postwar history of Britain when people who would naturally be inclined to vote Labour have been driven to ask themselves whether the return of a Conservative government would be the worst possible outcome for the country or for the general cause of progress? For those in Britain who think of themselves as progressives, the answer has usually been an unhesitating yes. Nevertheless there is a reasonable and sober body of historical work which reaches the judgment that there have, indeed, been times when Labour has deserved to lose.

We may be approaching another moment for difficult questions.

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Update: Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has responded on Twitter.