Coulson's last job at Downing St was to line up his replacement

Andy Coulson played a key role in ensuring that the BBC News editor Craig Oliver took over from him last year as David Cameron's communications director, the Leveson Inquiry learned yesterday.

The former News of the World editor, who is currently facing a perjury charge in Scotland and is still on bail in connection with Scotland Yard's investigation into phone hacking, texted Mr Oliver shortly after it was announced he was resigning from his Downing Street job.

In a written statement to the inquiry, Mr Oliver said he had received the text from Mr Coulson asking if he "would be interested in being considered for the [Downing St] role".

When he announced his resignation on 21 January last year, Mr Coulson said that " when a spokesman needs a spokesman it's time to move on".

However, it appears from the evidence Mr Oliver has given to the Inquiry that his final task was to help find his replacement. A few days after being texted by Mr Coulson, Mr Oliver was interview by the Chancellor, George Osborne, and then the Prime Minister.

The name of Downing Street's new communications boss was announced on 2 February, with Mr Oliver taking over at the end of the month.

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