Andy Coulson

Coulson before the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee last year

Andy Coulson has insisted he "did not oversee a culture of bullying" at the News of the World, stating in written evidence to the Leveson inquiry he "was very keen to build up an esprit de corps" as editor.

In his evidence Coulson referred to the employment tribunal of former sports reporter for the tabloid Matt Driscoll who won nearly £800,000 in damages from NGN for unfair dismissal.

Coulson said it was "a matter of enormous regret to me that I was not given the opportunity to give evidence at Matt Driscoll's employment tribunal hearing".

"I feel that I have been tried and judged in my absence. The disciplinary proceedings which led directly to the termination of Matt Driscoll’s employment commenced in March 2007, after I had resigned from the News of the World.

"He also launched his employment claim after my resignation. I was not asked by either side, or by the Tribunal, to give evidence about any of the circumstances of his employment.

"If I had been asked whether there was a culture of bullying on the paper, or if Mr Driscoll had been subject to disability discrimination, I would have denied it."

Driscoll was represented in his case by Steve Turner, former general secretary of the National Union of Journalists and now general secretary of the British Association of Journalists. Turner also appeared before the Leveson inquiry last year.

In his written statement to the inquiry Coulson added: "The evidence of Matt Driscoll’s union representative, Steve Turner, cites other instances of alleged bullying. I do not know the extent to which these cases were said to overlap with my tenure as editor.

"I do not know who Mr Turner was referring to, and cannot comment on his evidence other than to deny it."

"I did not oversee a culture of bullying at News of the World under my editorship. I was very keen to build up an esprit de corps. I believe that the vast majority of people who worked with and for me in journalism and in politics would agree that I was not a bully."

He said he also disputed "Ian Edmondson’s evidence to the Inquiry about bullying, as well as that given by the NUJ on behalf of some of its members".

"Tabloid journalists work in a highly competitive environment and there is pressure to deliver stories, but I did not bully people to achieve results".

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