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Andy Coulson: Former journalist became the story

Andy Coulson was the tabloid star who brought to David Cameron's team a killer instinct for what made news.

But three-and-a-half years after he was appointed as the Tories' chief spin doctor he knew that he was becoming the news.

Mr Coulson (43) could never shake off the explosive claims against him from his time as editor of the News of the World.

Mr Coulson denies any knowledge of phone hacking by reporters under his editorship, but the story has only intensified since he entered Downing Street alongside Mr Cameron.

His resignation letter said: “I stand by what I've said about those events, but when the spokesman needs a spokesman it's time to move on.”

His glittering tabloid career was left in tatters after his then royal editor Clive Goodman was jailed after pleading guilty to illegally intercepting phone messages from Clarence House.

Mr Coulson said he had “ultimate responsibility” for the scandal and apologised “unreservedly” to Princes William and Harry.

Only months later, in May 2007, Mr Coulson was unveiled as director of communications and planning with the Conservative Party.

Turned gamekeeper, he was credited with sharpening the Tories' message at a time when Mr Cameron was still seeking to establish himself as a credible alternative Prime Minister.

But the phone hacking scandal continued to rumble on in the background and took on a new significance when, after last year's General Election, he became one of the most important figures in Number 10.

The scandal re-erupted with fresh claims about the extent of the scandal— again fiercely denied by Mr Coulson and News International.

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