IoS exclusive:

IoS exclusive: Revealed - how Coulson called Cameron's bluff

New book exposes desperation of the Tory leader to woo Murdoch

David Cameron was so anxious to secure the services of Andy Coulson as his director of communications that the Tory leader backed down on one of his key demands, it is revealed today.

In a sign of how Mr Coulson was in the driving seat over his controversial appointment, the former News of the World editor called the bluff of the Tory leader and George Osborne by refusing to sign a confidentiality clause as part of his appointment.

The move reveals for the first time the desperation of Mr Cameron, then Leader of the Opposition, and Mr Osborne, to win over the Murdoch empire as they manoeuvred to secure a general election victory.

As the Leveson inquiry prepares to hear more evidence this week about the relations between News International and the Tories, The Independent on Sunday has learnt that Rebekah Brooks and her husband spent a weekend at Dorneywood, the Chancellor's official residence, during a key period in the bid by News Corp to take over BSkyB.

The previously undisclosed "pyjama party", in 2010, which also featured Mr Coulson and his wife, Eloise, will add fuel to demands for the Chancellor to be called to give evidence to Leveson in person.

Mr Osborne is among eight cabinet ministers to be granted "core participant" status, allowing them privileged access to documents put before the inquiry, but he is the only minister of the group not scheduled to give evidence. Last night an aide to Mr Osborne said that the Chancellor had listed on the Treasury website a "social" engagement with Mrs Brooks in September 2010, even though full details of the Dorneywood weekend were not given. The aide said that Mr Osborne had been "absolutely transparent" in his dealings with News International figures.

A new edition of a biography of David Cameron, Practically a Conservative, reveals that in 2007, at the time of Mr Coulson's appointment, the Tory leader was concerned that the ex-NOTW editor would write a memoir about working for him.

The book, by James Hanning, deputy editor of The Independent on Sunday, and Francis Elliott of The Times, reveals that "Cameron wanted a clause inserted in Coulson's contract guaranteeing that he would not write a memoir, but Coulson refused. Tellingly, Osborne, tasked with brokering the hire, didn't feel they could insist and backed down."

The authors write that there was a "cursory check" into whether there were any outstanding court cases or industrial tribunals that might throw up further details. "We wanted to be sure there were no outstanding legal cases," said one of those involved.

Last week Mr Coulson told the inquiry that he was asked only once by Mr Cameron about phone-hacking, which triggered his resignation from the Murdoch-owned newspaper. But, according to Practically a Conservative, to be serialised in The Independent on Sunday next week, Mr Cameron's concern at hiring Mr Coulson was less to do with the circumstances of his resignation earlier that year than the result of his wariness of journalists as a breed.

Mr Cameron was worried that Mr Coulson might follow the behaviour of Amanda Platell, another former editor turned press secretary who worked for William Hague. She went home each night during the 2001 election campaign to record a video diary, later seen on national television.

But Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne, in particular, were desperate to emulate Tony Blair and acquire for the Tories their "own Alastair Campbell". When Mr Coulson refused to sign a confidentiality clause, Mr Osborne backed down. The revelation also sheds further light on the central role played by the then Shadow Chancellor in pursuing the Blair strategy. Mr Coulson's appointment is expected to come under scrutiny at Leveson tomorrow when the former cabinet secretary, Lord O'Donnell, gives evidence. Lord O'Donnell oversaw the vetting process for civil servants, including advisers such as Mr Coulson, who was subjected to a lower level of security clearance when he became director of communications at Downing Street in May 2010.

Uncertainty remains over aspects of Mrs Brooks's evidence to the inquiry on Friday. In July last year, The IoS revealed that Mrs Brooks and Mr Cameron met at a drinks party in an Oxfordshire manor on Boxing Day 2010. A week later, sources close to the Prime Minister confirmed that they had met at that party at the house of Mrs Brooks's sister-in-law, Annabel Brooks. It came only three days after Mr Cameron and Mrs Brooks had dinner with James Murdoch on 23 December. On Friday, when Mrs Brooks was asked whether she had met the Prime Minister on Boxing Day, and whether she had had a conversation with him, she said she might have seen him across the room, but that "No, I don't think there was a conversation". However, a fellow guest at the party has confirmed to The IoS that the two definitely spoke to each other on at least two occasions that evening.

The position of the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, remained in the balance last night after an email revealed by Mrs Brooks on Friday suggested he had asked for News International to guide No 10 and his own department about phone hacking.

Yesterday the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, stepped up pressure on Mr Hunt to resign. In a speech to the Progress Conference, he said: "One of the reasons so many people hate politics so much right now is that they think politicians stand up for the wrong people, not the right people. This is a clear example of that – Jeremy Hunt was standing up for Rupert Murdoch, not for the public interest. Out of touch with the many. Too close to the few. Jeremy Hunt should go."

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn