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News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh

Coulson staying put

There's a new spike in traffic around Andy Coulson's future at Number 10, this time sparked by fresh speculation that he is set to quit before Christmas.

Tom Watson uses his Labour Uncut post today to state almost as fact that the PM's comms chief will be out before the Heavenly Angel tops the Downing Street tree.

The former minister - no friend of News International - makes some wider points about the Met investigation into phone tapping. But the premise for his piece is, I'm told, just plain wrong.

One Government source tells me that it's "absolutely not true" that Mr Coulson is set to resign. "It's nothing more than wishful thinking by Tom Watson," they say.

I hear that at least one major City PR agency has expressed an interest in taking on the former News of the World editor. Rumours suggests the salary would be north of £400k.

But for many Tory MPs, the presence of Coulson is reassuring. They rely on him to get across a traditional message on crime and immigration and in a way that keeps on board those key skilled and semi-skilled workers who swing elections. They'll be pleased that it looks like he'll be enjoying a Downing Street mince pie or two in few weeks' time.

Perhaps just as interesting is Labour's own search for a comms chief to rival Coulson. With the impending departure of Katie Myler (the tabloid-savvy daughter of Colin Myler, current Editor of the News of the World), Ed Miliband is scouting for talent and several broadcasters are apparently interested. It could prove to be one of his most important appointments yet.

 

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