British PM's top aide resigns in tabloid scandal

January 21, 2011 14:58

LONDON — British Prime Minister David Cameron's communications chief resigned Friday after intense pressure over claims that he encouraged reporters to spy on the conversations of politicians, celebrities, and even royalty, while he worked as the editor of a powerful tabloid newspaper.

Cameron on Friday said that Andy Coulson had felt compelled to resign, but did not mention the scandal, which centers on allegations of systematic wrongdoing at Rupert Murdoch's News of The World tabloid while he was in charge."I am very sorry that Andy Coulson has decided to resign as my director of communications," Cameron said in a statement. "Andy has told me that the focus on him was impeding his ability to do his job and was starting to prove a distraction for the government."

Coulson is a trusted aide and his departure is a blow to Cameron, whose office had long insisted he would stay on despite the scandal.

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