Prime Minister David Cameron, defending his integrity to parliament in emergency session yesterday, said he regretted hiring a journalist at the heart of a scandal that has rocked Britain’s press, police and politics.
But in hours of stormy questioning he seemed to rally his Conservative Party behind him and stopped short of bowing to demands that he apologize outright for what the Labour leader called a “catastrophic error of judgment” in appointing as his spokesman a former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World.
Only if Andy Coulson, who has since resigned, should turn out to have lied about not knowing of illegal practices at his newspaper would the prime minister offer a “profound apology.”
Analysts said Cameron emerged from the debate looking stronger than when he was forced to fly home early from Africa to face lawmakers. But he left some lingering questions unanswered, notably about his role in Murdoch’s takeover bid for TV network BSkyB.