The Conservative Party leader announced two separate inquiries into the revelations, saying that “no stone will be left unturned” and that “the investigation will go where it goes.”
At a news conference, reporters asked Cameron how he could have hired a former tabloid editor as the public face of his administration. Andy Coulson resigned in January after persistent revelations that his former newspaper had engaged in widespread phone hacking.
The arrest of Coulson, former spokesman for 10 Downing Street, was a stunning development in a fast-moving story that has rocked the British media and political world. It follows the announcement Thursday that the salacious News of the World will publish its final edition Sunday after 168 years in print.
Leaving a south London police station late Friday night, Coulson, 43, told a scrum of jostling reporters that there was a lot he wanted to say, “but I can’t.”
Coulson was editor of the News of the World when the newspaper allegedly engaged in illegal hacking of the cellphones and voice mails of aides to the royal family, celebrities, politicians and relatives grieving the loss of loved ones in the London transit bombings in 2005.
In his remarks, the prime minister said he remained a loyal friend of Coulson’s but promised to support both the police investigation and others seeking to learn the extent of the alleged eavesdropping. Police sources say as many as 4,000 mobile phone accounts might have been hacked.
Cameron also faced questions about his ties to James Murdoch, and his father, Rupert, whose newspapers loom large in British politics. The Murdochs’ News Corp. is trying to purchase the remaining 60 percent of the United Kingdom’s most popular pay-TV satellite channel, a move that requires government approval.
Coulson has denied any knowledge of the hacking. Top executives at News Corp. initially described the illegal snooping as the work of a rogue reporter and a private investigator.
That reporter is Clive Goodman, 53, the former News of the World royal reporter, who was arrested Friday on “allegations of corruption.” Goodman was jailed for four months in 2007 after he pleaded guilty to hacking into private phone messages in connection with pursuing stories about the British monarchy.
The scandal emerged after Goodman wrote stories in 2005 about Prince William that contained details about the young royal arranging a meeting with his knee surgeon, something known to few people. The articles raised alarm bells in the royal household.