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Labour Demand Answers On Andy Coulson's Appointment To Downing Street

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Andy Coulson Worked In Downing Street When Cameron Came To Power | AP

Labour are calling on the top civil servant at Downing Street to make public the process which led to Andy Coulson's appointment as David Cameron's communications director.

The Shadow Culture Secretary Ivan Lewis has written to the Gus O'Donnell, calling on the cabinet secretary to explain the process by which Coulson got his job at Number 10.

Lewis wrote on Monday: "The process through which Mr Coulson was appointed to No 10 is handled by civil servants and, in order to have confidence in that process in the future, needs to be transparent".

Coulson was arrested last Friday in connection with alleged phone hacking, and claims that people working for the News of The World paid police officers for information. Coulson was bailed until October later that day.

At the weekend a number of Lib Dems claimed that the prime minister ignored warnings about Coulson's unsuitability for working at No. 10. The Environment Secretary Chris Huhne said yesterday that there had been "reputational issues" with Coulson's appointment.

In his letter Ivan Lewis demands answers to six key areas of uncertainty:
  • Did the prime minister or any of his advisers tell you or other civil servants about any warnings they had received about Mr Coulson's prior conduct?
  • Will you now ensure that all records across government, including emails, that are communications from, to or about Andy Coulson are retained and can be examined by the inquiry?
  • Did the deputy prime minister raise any concerns about Mr Coulson with you or other officials?
  • Did any officials receive warnings about Mr Coulson themselves or raise their own concerns with you?
  • Did the prime minister or any of his advisers provide you any background checks they had done?
  • Do you now feel that the vetting process was sufficiently robust and that no one provided false information to it?

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