Harriet Harman to question PM over Coulson

By Nigel Morris
Sunday 23 October 2011 08:36

Labour's acting leader, Harriet Harman, is to confront David Cameron for the first time over the appointment of the former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as Downing Street's communications chief.

Ms Harman is expected to use Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday to raise the issue of what Mr Coulson knew about the hacking of MPs' phones.

Speaking yesterday to the BBC, Ms Harman said there was a "great deal of concern" over Mr Coulson's appointment and the Prime Minister's decision to appoint him "at the heart of Downing Street" was a reflection on his judgement.

She said: "Last Thursday, without a vote because nobody opposed it, the House of Commons agreed to refer the question of phone-hacking of MPs' phones and intercepting their phones to the Standards and Privileges Committee. If you saw what was said last Thursday it was Conservatives, Nadine Dorries and Nicholas Soames, it was Lib Dems like Simon Hughes as well as Labour people protesting.

"I think the fact that Andy Coulson is director of communications chosen by the Prime Minister is a reflection on David Cameron's judgement." Meanwhile it emerged yesterday that Rupert Murdoch's News International, owner of the News of the World, is drawing up plans to sponsor an academy school in east London close to the company's headquarters.

The move, is being backed by the company's chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, a former editor of The Sun. It alarmed critics, who believe the company already exerts too much influence in Westminster after throwing their backing behind the Conservatives in May's general election.

In America Mr Murdoch's companies support several schools in New York, while News International already sponsors a visiting professorship at Oxford University.

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