View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. News
November 1, 2013updated 02 Nov 2013 5:24pm

Coulson confronted David Blunkett over affair in the Home Secretary’s office

By Darren Boyle

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson confronted then Home Secretary David Blunkett that he was having an affair with a married woman, the phone-hacking trial has heard.

Continuing his opening statement, Andrew Edis for the defence said the News of the World discovered details of the affair by intercepting phone messages.

Coulson, who was editor of the News of the World at the time, met with Blunkett in the Home Secretary’s office who recorded the meeting.

During the meeting, Coulson refused to tell Blunkett how the paper uncovered the affair.

Coulson told Blunkett that the Home Secretary having an affair with a married woman warranted publication.

According to the tape, which was played to the jury of nine women and three men, Coulson said: “Someone else won’t be as fair. What I’m prepared to do is run this story and keep Kimberley’s name out of it.”

Coulson told Blunkett that he does not want to destroy anyone’s life, however it was an extreme set of circumstances.

Content from our partners
Publishing on the open web is broken, how generative AI could help fix it
Impress: Regulation, arbitration and complaints resolution
Papermule: Workflow automation for publishers

Despite refusing to say where the information came from, Coulson said that he was “confident” of his sources.

Edis told the jury that Coulson’s News of the World did not name Kimberly Quinn. The next morning, The Sun (then edited by Rebekak Brooks) named the woman and the following day revealed Quinn was pregnant after hacking another voicemail message. The message was from a clinic reminding Quinn that she should come in for a scan.

Edis asked the court: “How did the two editors know these facts to be true?

“Hacked voicemails,” he answered.

Edis said there is evidence to show extensive contact between Brooks and Coulson between the News of the World story detailing the affair and the following day’s Sun naming Kimberly Quinn.

He continued: “We know all this because of tapes recovered from the safe of News International lawyers”

Edis said it was “absolutely inconceivable they would publish a story about a serving cabinet minister unless they knew it was true. And the reason they knew it was true is thanks to phone-hacking.”

All the defendants deny all charges.

The trial continues.

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network