LONDON – David Cameron has told MPs that “with hindsight” he would not have hired ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson, BBC informs.
In the closest he has come to an apology, the PM said: “Of course I regret, and I am extremely sorry about the furore it has caused.”
Amid stormy Commons scenes, Labour leader Ed Miliband accused the PM of a “catastrophic error of judgement”.
Mr Cameron returned early from a trip to Africa to make an emergency statement on the phone hacking crisis.
He said that if Mr Coulson – Mr Cameron’s former media spokesman – had lied about phone hacking at his time at the News of the World then he should face “severe” criminal charges. He added: “If it turns out I have been lied to that would be a moment for a profound apology, and in that event I can tell you I will not fall short.”
“I never had any inappropriate conversations.”
And he told MPs that with hindsight “I would not have offered him the job and I expect that he wouldn’t have taken it”.
But Mr Miliband said this was “not good enough” and repeated questions about Mr Coulson had been met “with a wall of silence” by Mr Cameron’s aides. “The country has the right to expect that the prime minister would have made every effort to know the facts about Mr Coulson, to protect himself and his office,” he said.