My phone was hacked too, Coulson tells MPs

Tory press chief thrust into spotlight of Commons committee

David Cameron's communications chief, Andy Coulson, yesterday admitted that "things went badly wrong" under his editorship of the News of the World – claiming he himself had been a victim of phone hacking.

Giving evidence to MPs investigating allegations that members of his staff had routinely tapped into phones of politicians and celebrities Mr Coulson admitted that mistakes had been made under his watch at the paper, during which his royal editor, Clive Goodman, was jailed along with a private investigator for illegally tapping phones. Mr Coulson resigned in 2007 as a result.

However, Mr Coulson said claims that the practice of phone hacking had been widespread in his newsroom were untrue. "During that time I neither condoned the use of phone hacking and nor do I have any recollection of instances when phone hacking took place," he said.

Mr Coulson also revealed that he had been warned by Scotland Yard that there was "strong evidence" that his own phone had been hacked. "I received a call from Scotland Yard the Friday before last, from a detective superintendent, to be told there is strong evidence to suggest that my phone was hacked," he said.

He admitted, however, that the supervision of payments had not been adequate. "Things went badly wrong under my editorship of the News of the World, I deeply regret it," Mr Coulson said. "When I resigned I gave up a 20-year career with News International and everything that I had worked towards since I was 18. I have to accept that mistakes were made and I have to accept that the system could have been better."

All four News of the World representatives appearing before the Commons Culture Committee yesterday said they had been completely unaware of the £12,300 that Mr Goodman had paid to a private investigator, Glen Mulcaire, for help in tapping the phones of royal aides. "I wasn't able to micro-manage every story and nor did I attempt to," Mr Coulson said. He added that the payments, which were made in cash, had been "unknown to me and concealed from the managing editor". Colin Myler, the current editor of the paper, revealed that he had now clamped down on cash payments, which had been slashed by as much as 89 per cent from the amount handed out under Mr Coulson's editorship.

Mr Coulson also denied any knowledge of the £700,000 out-of-court settlement handed to Gordon Taylor, the head of the Professional Footballers Association, who was one of the victims of the phone hacking carried out by Mr Mulcaire. The settlement means that few details of the case against News International can be made public.

However, James Murdoch, the son of Rupert Murdoch and the executive chairman of News International, was dragged into the row after it emerged that he agreed that the payout should go ahead. "James Murdoch was apprised of the situation and agreed with our recommendation to settle," Mr Myler said. "It was an agreed collective decision."

Tory aides were confident last night that his appearance marked the end of the matter for Mr Coulson, who has become critical to Mr Cameron's operation. However, the committee threatened to bring the Tory leader's communications director back if more questions arise as a result of their inquiry into phone tapping.

News International was accused of coming "very close" to attempting to interfere with the inquiry after it demanded that one of the MPs sitting on the committee be removed. It had requested the removal of the Labour MP Tom Watson, as he is currently in dispute with The Sun, also owned by News International. During the proceedings, the paper's former managing editor, Stuart Kuttner, also asked for the Tory MP Philip Davies to be barred from asking questions. Mr Kuttner said that comments made by Mr Davies, suggesting that his resignation had been linked to the fresh accusations of phone hacking, indicated he had prejudged the matter. Both requests were turned down.

Awkward questions remained for Scotland Yard after Mr Myler confirmed that no other New of the World staff were even questioned during its investigation into the phone tapping scandal, raising questions over its refusal to reopen the inquiry.

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam