David Cameron piled further pressure on News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks today, suggesting she should have quit over the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.
The Prime Minister, himself facing questions over his relationship with the former editor of the Sunday tabloid, said he would have accepted her resignation if it was up to him.
Mr Cameron has previously stopped short of Labour leader Ed Miliband's demands for Ms Brooks to take responsibility for the crisis and consider her position.
But, at a Downing Street press conference today, he said: "It has been reported that she offered her resignation over this and in this situation I would have taken it."
Mr Cameron is also under pressure over his decision to hire Andy Coulson, who was arrested this morning on suspicion of corruption and phone hacking.
The Prime Minister described Mr Coulson, another ex-News of the World editor, as "a friend" but acknowledged that he did not know what "these people at News International did know or didn't know" about the alleged crimes.
He defended the decision to appoint him as his director of communications - first for the Conservative Party and then at No 10 - but did not apologise as Mr Miliband has urged him to do.
"I took a conscious choice to give someone who had screwed up a second chance," he said.
"He worked for me, he worked for me well, but actually he decided in the end the second chance wouldn't work, he had to resign all over again for the first offence."
Mr Cameron said he had received "assurances" from Mr Coulson that he knew nothing of the hacking at the News of the World and disclosed that he had commissioned a firm to carry out a background check before employing him.
But Mr Cameron added: "Frankly, as we stand today, with a police investigation under way, we don't all know in this room - I certainly don't know - who at News International knew what about what.
"That has now got to take place and then people will be able to see not whether people were right to resign from their jobs but whether people actually are going to be prosecuted and found guilty of something worse."
Mr Cameron added: "Potentially, we could have many more criminal cases."
Of their contact since Mr Coulson's January resignation, he added: "I have spoken to him, I have seen him, not recently and not frequently, but when you work with someone for four years as I did, and you work closely, you do build a friendship and I became friends with him.
He added: "He became a friend and is a friend."
Mr Miliband said the Prime Minister "clearly still doesn't get it".
"He is ploughing on regardless on BSkyB. He failed to apologise for the catastrophic mistake of bringing Andy Coulson into the heart of government," the Labour leader said.
"His wholly unconvincing answers of what he knew and when he knew it about Mr Coulson's activities undermine his ability to lead the change that Britain needs."Reuse content