Officially there is no vacancy. Officially Andy Coulson has the full support of the PM and the government machine. Officially he isn’t going anywhere. Unofficially last night was quite the flurry of activity.
He may not be going anywhere just yet, but the longer the BBC, Guardian and the Labour Party keep screaming, the more they wound Coulson as he becomes the story. The damage is not just jeopardising his current job, but any future high earners he could move on to. So the feelers are going out and seem to centre on three key names…
There may not be an official vacancy, but that isn’t stopping Boris’s spinner and former BBC man Guto Harri putting his ear to the ground. he had been rumoured to be in talks with Welsh language channel S4C about their vacant CEO position, Guido hears that Welsh speaking Harri told them that if Coulson’s job became available he wouldn’t be in the running for the channel no one watches. Though some are worried where that would leave Boris with a re-election battle looming.
Another BBC man, James Lansdale, is also said to have given a nod of the head. This Old Etonian would slip easily into the Cameron circle and is greatly respected by his colleagues. Not that there is a vacancy of course.
Another name in the fray is, as ever, Ben Brogan. His Cameroon contacts are exemplary and second to none. Interestingly Mandrake, in Brogan’s own paper, was keen to keep him out of the runners and riders suggesting instead that Buckingham Palace’s Simon Walker is in the offing rather than their Deputy Editor. They also suggest George Pascoe-Watson, who is by all accounts happy with his new well-rewarded gig at Portland. Guido’s money is still on Coulson.