When will he learn?
David Cameron can’t seem to keep his big blue mouth shut.
He’s just been told off by Mr Justice Saunders for making a public apology over employing Andy Coulson while the jury was still deciding on a further charge against Coulson of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
The PM said yesterday that he took “full responsibility” for employing Coulson. He said: “I always said that if [undertakings given by Coulson] turned out to be wrong, I would make a full and frank apology and I do that today.”
But Mr Justice Saunders said today that Cameron’s comments were “unsatisfactory so far as justice and the rule of law are concerned” and that he was “very concerned” by them.
He added that the PM’s comments set a bad example to the media.
But it’s not the first time that the prime minister has been condemned by a judge for making inappropriate comments…
Remember December 2013? It was all Nigella this, Charles Saatchi that.
Then slap bang in the middle of the fraud case against Nigella Lawson’s personal assistants, the Grillo sisters, Cameron said in an interview with The Spectator that he was “team Nigella” and a “massive fan” of her.
Nigella was the main prosecution witness of the trial.
Judge Robin Johnson said it was “of regret when people in public office comment about a person who is involved in a trial that is in progress”.
He added that the PM’s comments “had the effect of wasting almost an entire morning of court time that should have been devoted to the evidence and issues in this trial”.
Judge Robin Johnson said: “The defendants feel aggrieved as the comments, although they do not specifically deal with matters in this trial, are favourable to Miss Lawson. The fact they feel aggrieved is not without justification.”
Peter Cruddas: “Massive public humiliation”
You would have thought Cameron might have learnt his lesson from just a few months before the Nigella incident, when a High Court judge lambasted the PM for “humiliating” former Conservative party treasurer Peter Cruddas last summer.
Cruddas was constructively dismissed by the party after The Sunday Times published incorrect stories that suggested he had offered access to the prime minister in return for £250,000.
Cruddas was awarded £180,000 damages by the High Court after successfully bringing a claim against Times Newspaper Ltd.
But Cameron had dropped Cruddas almost immediately when the story broke.
Cruddas claimed that Cameron “cut me off within two hours of the story breaking”. The PM was then swift to publicly condemn Cruddas’s reported actions as “completely unacceptable and wrong”.
Finding in favour of self-made millionaire Cruddas at the ensuing court case, Mr Justice Tugendhat condemned Cameron thus: “The prime minister did not know what Mr Cruddas had said. All he knew was what The Sunday Times had reported.
“This speech by the prime minister was a massive public humiliation for Mr Cruddas.”
Cameron later admitted he was “very sorry” for the way he had behaved towards Cruddas.