Andy Coulson, the former editor of shameless News Corp-owned British tabloid News of the World, resigned today from his job as press chief for UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The tabloid phone hacking scandal has claimed a dandy scalp.

Coulson resigned as NotW editor in 2007 after it became clear that his paper was engaged in widespread hacking of the voicemail of various public figures. He promptly became a political flack. But the phone hacking scandal has re-emerged—thanks largely to determined reporting by the New York Times—and today Coulson stepped down, acknowledging that coverage of the scandal has become a problem for his boss. "I stand by what I've said about those events but when the spokesman needs a spokesman it's time to move on," he said.

Coulson has consistently maintained that he never condoned any illegal activities during his time as editor. His own employees have scoffed at that, saying the "dark arts" were routine at the paper. In testimony at a perjury trial last month, Coulson professed his innocence:

Sheridan asked whether he know what the phrase "the dark arts" meant. Coulson replied: "As far as I'm concerned it means investigative work.

"I think others have described it as meaning illegal work. All I can tell you is that as far as my reporters are concerned the instructions were very clear: they were to work within the law and within the PCC code. It's in their handbooks."


[Photo via AP]