Tory/Lib Dem Coalition,  UK Politics

Andy Coulson has resigned

It is being widely reported that a statement is due from No 10 later today regarding Andy Coulson. The speculation is that David Cameron’s director of communications is toast following fresh evidence emerging regarding the News of the World and phone hacking story.

The timing of the announcement comes as Tony Blair addresses the Chilcot inquiry on Iraq, which has not gone unnoticed on Twitter.

James Lyons (@mirrorjames) Deputy Political Editor of the Daily Mirror tweeted: “Dave ditched his personal snapper under the cover of a royal wedding, now Coulson makes a “personal statement” when Blair’s at Chilcot”.

N0 10 is getting its news out in the middle of a major news cycle following Ed Balls move up to chancellor and Blair’s  return.

Speculation is that Coulson is set to jump before he is pushed and that he is going now as he was about to be named to the enquiry. It will raise serious questions for Cameron. Why did he wait so long? Can’t wait to see him with a straight face saying he didn’t know.

If he does go his exit will follow speculation by Labour MP Tom Watson. Two weeks ago he wrote on the Labour Uncut blog that Coulson would go on January 25. Looks like Watson was bang on the money. Hats off.

UPDATE: Well it is official Coulson has gone. Coulson is said to have told the prime minister of his decision on Wednesday evening.

The BBC is reporting that a Downing Street spokesman saying that there would be a personal statement on Friday but did not give any details about what it was about.

Here is the statement in full from Coulson and Cameron:

Coulson: “I can today confirm that I’ve resigned as Downing Street director of communications. It’s been a privilege and an honour to work for David Cameron for three-and-a-half years.

“I’m extremely proud of the part I’ve played in helping him reach No 10 and during the coalition’s first nine months.

“Nothing is more important than the Government’s task of getting this country back on its feet.

“Unfortunately, continued coverage of events connected to my old job at the News of the World has made it difficult for me to give the 110% needed in this role.

“I stand by what I’ve said about those events but when the spokesman needs a spokesman, it’s time to move on.

“I’ll leave within the next few weeks and will do so wishing the Prime Minister, his family, and his brilliant and dedicated team the very best for what I’m sure will be a long and successful future in Government.

This is the statement issued by David Cameron:

“I am very sorry that Andy Coulson has decided to resign as my Director of Communications, although I understand that the continuing pressures on him and his family mean that he feels compelled to do so. Andy has told me that the focus on him was impeding his ability to do his job and was starting to prove a distraction for the Government.

“During his time working for me, Andy has carried out his role with complete professionalism. He has been a brilliant member of my team and has thrown himself at the job with skill and dedication. He can be extremely proud of the role he has played, including for the last eight months in Government.”