By Ray Fleming

THERE are now so many criss-crossing strands in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal that it is impossible to disentangle them in a few words. However, David Cameron's press conference yesterday morning was of special interest and is worth a second look.

He opened it strongly with the announcement of an urgent judicial inquiry and a longer-term review of the Press Complaints Commission. When the name of Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the News of the World who now remains Chief Executive of News International, was mentioned he volunteered this: “It has been reported that she offered her resignation over this. And in this situation, I would have taken it.” In those few words Mr Cameron indicated with total clarity how unacceptable it is to him that Ms Brooks continues to enjoy the confidence of the Murdochs, Rupert and James.

However, on the subject of Andy Coulson, also a former NoW editor, chosen as press secretary at No 10, but now under arrest, the prime minister was evasive and stubborn. He refused to acknowledge that he had made a bad choice and relied on the argument that he had given Coulson a “second chance”. The idea that No 10 is a rehabilitation centre for failed editors is ludicrous and Mr Cameron is unwise to rely on it in defending his employment of Coulson.

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