Cameron faces grilling over Coulson at PMQs

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The Independent Online

David Cameron is facing more awkward questions about the phone-hacking scandal as Labour steps up the pressure on him over the affair.

Despite today's all-party show of unity in the Commons against News Corp's bid to buy 100 per cent of BSkyB, Labour believes the Prime Minister is vulnerable over his decision to appoint Andy Coulson, who resigned as News of the World editor over hacking, as his director of communications.

The mood in Downing Street is said to be grim. "It is going to be a bumpy few days," one insider admitted. However, Cameron aides were relieved they had avoided a possible Commons defeat in tonight's vote by deciding to support Labour's motion calling on Rupert Murdoch to withdraw the bid.

Ed Miliband, who will face Mr Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions today for the last time before Parliament's summer break, believes the appointment of Mr Coulson raises serious questions about Mr Cameron's judgement.

Labour will press the Prime Minister over what action was taken by his aides Steve Hilton and Ed Llewellyn over specific warnings by Nick Clegg and Paddy Ashdown about Mr Coulson's conduct at the NotW.

They want to know whether Mr Coulson, who was allowed to see the most sensitive government documents, was properly vetted when the Tories made the transition from opposition to government last year.

"We will not let these matters rest," a senior Labour source said last night.

Labour officials dismissed criticism from some Liberal Democrats that the Opposition had not tabled a stronger motion for today's debate so the Tories would be forced to vote against it, putting them on the wrong side of public opinion.

"This is not about political point scoring," a Labour source said.

"It is about finding a way for the Commons to express the will of the public, which is against the BSkyB takeover."