British Prime Minister David Cameron’s former press spokesman has been charged with perjury, after denying in court any knowledge of widespread phone hacking at the tabloid newspaper he once edited.
Andy Coulson, who was Cameron’s communications director between 2007 and 2011, had spent the day being questioned by Scottish police after being arrested at his home in London.
It is a further embarrassment for Cameron, already under scrutiny over his judgement in employing someone from a paper already suspected of breaking the law.
Coulson told the trial of a Scottish politician in Glasgow in 2010 that he knew nothing of illegal activities by reporters when he was editor of News of the World.
He is the second ex-editor of the paper – and the second associate of the prime minister – to be charged with an offence.
An official inquiry has exposed close ties between executives in Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, and leading members of both the current government and the previous one.