Conspiracy calling

September 09, 2010, 1:14 AM GMT+0

The majority of the public thinks that Downing Street’s Director of Communications Andy Coulson should be removed from office and that investigations into the News of the World phone tapping affair should be reopened after fresh allegations, our survey reveals.

In 2007, the News of the World’s royal editor, Clive Goodman, and private investigator Glen Mulcaire, were jailed over conspiracy to intercept the voicemail of senior royal aides. The editor at the time, Coulson, denied all knowledge of the operation but accepted ‘ultimate responsibility’ and stepped down. He has since become David Cameron’s Director of Communications, but recent allegations have suggested that phone tapping was widespread at the paper and that Coulson was aware of its use.

Losing his job

Just over half the population (52%) believe the Government’s PR boss should lose his job because of this, compared to 24% who think that Coulson, who has denied the allegations and said he is ‘happy to voluntarily meet’ police to assist further investigation, should keep his position.

Strikingly, just 14% of the population think that the police conducted a full investigation of the phone tapping affair at the time. Although the Metropolitan Police maintain that they gave the Criminal Prosecution Service full access to the clear evidence gathered, almost half of the public (47%) say they do not believe a full investigation was carried out, and a considerable 54% of Brits believe that the police should re-open the investigation, compared to under a quarter (24%) who doesn’t think this necessary.

Editorial ethics

Although this case of illegal story acquisition is limited to News of the World, it appears that the general public do not have much faith in the ethics of other publications either. A staggering 80% of the public believe that other newspapers ‘probably do similar things’, and the News of the World reporter 'just happened' to get caught.

Survey details and full results