POLITICS

PMQs: Cameron Uses Leveson To Shield Himself From Miliband's Andy Coulson Bullet

25/06/2014 13:45 BST | Updated 25/06/2014 13:59 BST

David Cameron dodged a bullet at prime minister's questions on Wednesday after Ed Miliband went on the attack in the wake of Andy Coulson's conviction for phone hacking.

The Labour leader used all six of his questions to hammer the prime minister for his decision to bring a "criminal into Downing Street". However Cameron, using the Leveson Inquiry as a shield, insisted he had already been cleared of any wrongdoing.

And the prime minister deployed Miliband's recent decision to pose with a copy of The Sun, then apologise for it, as evidence that the Labour leader did not have a coherent position on the rights or wrongs of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

Cameron repeated to MPs on Wednesday the apology he made yesterday for having made Coulson his director of communications. "I am sorry, this was the wrong decision," he said. However he insisted claims he had behaved irresponsibly by ignoring warnings from Nick Clegg, among others, not to employ the former editor of the News of the World were incorrect.

"All of these issues, every single warning, was dealt with by the Leveson inquiry," he told Miliband. Leveson made no criticism of my conduct in this regard whatsoever." And he said Miliband was trying to "ignore" what the Leveson Inquiry in to press ethics had found because it did not fit the story the Labour leader wanted to tell.

"He wanted to try and prove some cooked up conspiracy between the Conservatives and News International, he can not manage to do it, because the Leveson Inquiry can't find it," he said. "You can not call for a judge-led inquiry, participate in a judge-led inquiry, set the terms of a judge-led inquiry, then ignore what it has to say."

Cameron mocked Miliband for recently posing with a copy of The Sun only to then apologise for it. "What is weak," Cameron said. "Is attacking Murdoch and then standing up with a copy of The Sun newspaper only to apologise a few hours later."

The picture of Miliband holding the tabloid's World Cup special issue triggered backlash from members of his own party. Several Labour MPs protested and Labour councillor in Liverpool, emotions still raw over Hillsborough, resigned.

Coulson faces up to two years in prison when he is sentenced next week, while Rebekah Brooks was cleared of all charges.

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