British royal staff had concerns about PM aide: lawmaker

20th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

A British opposition lawmaker said Wednesday that senior royal staff were "troubled" by Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to appoint Andy Coulson, but the palace strongly rejected the claim.

Coulson, who edited the now-defunct News of the World from 2003-2007, was arrested this month over the escalating phone-hacking crisis at the paper, around five months after he quit as Cameron's media chief.

"Very senior people at Buckingham Palace were very troubled by the appointment of Andy Coulson and tried to make it absolutely clear to the prime minister," Labour lawmaker Chris Bryant told the BBC.

"I am not sure whether this information ever got directly to the prime minister, but it certainly got to senior figures at Downing Street."

But a royal spokesman criticised the claim as "outrageous."

"On no occasion did any officials from Buckingham Palace raise concerns to Downing Street and indeed it is outrageous to suggest this," he said.

Cameron, the leader of the Conservative party, is under pressure over his decision to appoint Coulson following the former journalist's arrest on July 8 on suspicion of phone hacking and bribing police.

Coulson resigned from the paper after the tabloid's royal editor and a private investigator were jailed for phone hacking in 2007. He denied any knowledge of the practice but said he took ultimate responsibility as editor.

© 2011 AFP

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