FRIDAY 21 JAN 2011 12:52 PM


David Cameron’s communications chief Andy Coulson has resigned, on the back of damaging coverage of the News of the World phone hacking scandal.

In a statement, he said it had been "a privilege and an honour to work for David Cameron for three-and-a-half years" but the coverage had "made it difficult for me to give the 110% needed in this role".

He said he would leave within weeks and was proud of the work he had done.

Coulson quit as News of the World editor in 2007, accepting ultimate responsibility for the scandal but denying any knowledge of the phone hacking taking place. He became Cameron's director of communications in May 2007.

In his own statement, Cameron praised Coulson as a "brilliant member of my team".

He said: "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."

In the House of Commons this morning, former minister Denis MacShane demanded that the prime minister come to the chamber to make a statement on Mr Coulson's resignation.

He said: "We're being informed by television that Mr Andy Coulson, one of the most important figures in Her Majesty's government and one of the closest aides to the Prime Minister, is now resigning. As the House is sitting, I believe it would be appropriate for the prime minister to come to the Commons to explain why this is happening and give the public the full details here in the House of Commons, rather than bury this news on a day when, frankly, there's an awful lot of other news taking place."