Did Andy Coulson commit perjury in the Tommy Sheridan trial?

Police charge ex-NOTW editor over claims relating to Scottish Socialist's own perjury case

Andy Coulson, the former Downing Street communications chief, was arrested and charged with perjury last night over allegations he lied on oath during the trial of Scottish socialist politician Tommy Sheridan.

Mr Coulson, who is a former editor of the News of the World, was detained early yesterday morning after officers from Scotland Yard and Strathclyde Police arrived at his south-east London home at 6.30am to escort him north for questioning at Govan police station in Glasgow. The force said a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal which will decide whether Mr Coulson is to face court proceedings.

The 44-year-old was a high-profile witness at the trial of Mr Sheridan in 2010, who was himself facing allegations of perjury committed during an earlier libel case in which he won £200,000 damages against the NOTW for claims that he was an adulterer who had visited a swingers club.

During his testimony in December 2010, Mr Coulson, who at the time was still David Cameron's spin doctor, repeatedly denied all knowledge of criminal activity during his editorship of the now-defunct Sunday tabloid between 2003 and 2007; this included any knowledge of phone hacking by the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

When shown documentary evidence by Mr Sheridan suggesting Mr Mulcaire, who was paid more than £100,000 a year by the NOTW, had targeted his phone, Mr Coulson said: "I'm saying I had absolutely no knowledge of it."

Operation Rubicon, an investigation into the phone-hacking scandal in Scotland launched by Strathclyde Police last summer, has been looking at whether a number of witnesses lied in court during the trial of Mr Sheridan, who was found guilty of perjury and left prison in January after serving 12 months of a three-year sentence.

Mr Coulson, who stepped down from his Downing Street post shortly after giving evidence in 2010 and was arrested last July by Yard officers on suspicion of conspiring to intercept voicemails and making corrupt payments to police, arrived in Glasgow shortly after 3pm.

Later that evening, Strathclyde Police announced that they had arrested and charged Mr Coulson. He was then released from custody.

Under Scottish law, a suspect is initially detained for questioning and is only formally arrested if officers decide there is sufficient evidence to bring a criminal charge. The Scottish courts have a reputation for taking a particularly dim view of perjury.

My bank details were targeted, says Clarke

Ken Clarke, the Justice Secretary, told the Leveson Inquiry that politicians were influenced by a "noisier and noisier" press. Newspapers could "drive weak governments like sheep", he said.

"There certainly are cases... where policy decisions are taken primarily because people, the politicians and ministers responsible, are fearful of the media reaction," he said.

Mr Clarke also revealed he was forced to move his bank account after he discovered journalists were trying to access personal information. He said reporters attempted to bribe staff at his village branch soon after he was appointed Chancellor in 1993. He told the inquiry such antics would have been regarded as "perfectly customary" at the time.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas