Piers Morgan and Louise Mensch expressed their admiration and sadness in equal measure following news that the former editor of the News of the World, Andy Coulson, had been found guilty of conspiring to hack phones between 2000 and 2006.
At the same time, Morgan declared his support for “friend” Rebekah Brooks, Coulson’s fellow ex-editor, who was cleared off all charges by the jury at the Old Bailey.
“So happy for my friends Rebekah and Charlie, so sad for my friend Andy. A good man, who I will always support,” Morgan wrote via Twitter.
Morgan, the former editor of the Daily Mirror, was himself questioned by police over allegations of phone hacking in February this year. He was not charged with any offence and has always denied any involvement in the practice.
Facing a predictable backlash from his Twitter followers, he quickly responded with the following: “Amazing how many ‘saints’ on here would dump their friends the moment they faced their toughest times. Thank god you're not MY friends!”
Video: The PM issues a 'full and frank' apology
Meanwhile, the former Conservative MP Louise Mensch echoed Morgan’s sentiments, describing Coulson – also the former director of communications to David Cameron – as a man she’d “always admired”.
She also made reference to Hugh Grant's anti-phone hacking pressure group, Hacked Off, with the following:
Brooks seemed to receive support from her close friend and fellow member of the Chipping Norton set Jeremy Clarkson, who simply had the following to say:
Their comments come after Prime Minister David Cameron issued a “full and frank apology” to the nation after Coulson, his former director of communications was found guilty of conspiracy to hack phones at the Old Bailey.
Coulson quit his role as Downing Street spin doctor shortly before he was arrested over the phone-hacking scandal in January 2011.
The Prime Minister said today that he took “full responsibility” for Coulson's appointment, and that he had received assurances which have now proved to be false.
Hacking trial: The verdicts in full
Hacking trial: The verdicts in full
1/7 Rebekah Brooks
The former News of the World editor and News International chief executive has been cleared of conspiracy to hack phones; misconduct in public office for allegedly signing off payments to a Sun journalist's 'number one military contact' between 2004 and 2012; conspiracy to pervert the course of justice after seven boxes were allegedly removed from the NI archive just days before 2011 arrests
2/7 Andy Coulson
Former News of the World editor and Downing Street spin doctor guilty of conspiracy to hack phones from 2000 to 2006. The jury failed to reach a majority verdict on charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office by allegedly paying police officers for two royal directories. He could face a retrial.
3/7 Stuart Kuttner
Retired managing editor cleared of involvement in phone-hacking conspiracy spanning six years
4/7 Cheryl Carter
Brooks' former personal assistant, cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by removing seven boxes from the News International company archive just days before she was arrested in 2011
5/7 Charlie Brooks
Racehorse trainer and Rebekah Brooks' husband, cleared of perverting the course of justice around the time of police searches in July 2011
6/7 Mark Hanna
Former News International director of security, cleared of perverting the course of justice
7/7 Clive Goodman
The former News of the World royal editor, could face a retrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict on charges of committing misconduct in public office for allegedly paying police officers for two royal directories
Speaking in the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street, Mr Cameron said he had hired Coulson “on the basis of undertakings I was given by him about phone hacking”.
“I always said that if they turned out to be wrong, I would make a full and frank apology and I did that today.
“I am extremely sorry that I employed him. It was the wrong decision and I am very clear about that.”
Coulson now faces the possibility of jail.