UK PM ‘regrets’ hiring scandal-hit tabloid editor

LONDON,  (Reuters) – Prime Minister David Cameron,  defending his integrity to parliament in emergency session today, said he regretted hiring a journalist at the heart of  the scandal that has rocked Britain’s press, police and  politicians.
But in two stormy hours of questioning he seemed to rally  his Conservative party behind him and stopped short of bowing to  demands that he apologise outright for what the Labour leader  called a “catastrophic error of judgment” in hiring as a  spokesman a former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World.
Only if Andy Coulson, who has since resigned, should turn  out to have lied about not knowing of illegal practices at his  newspaper would the prime minister offer a “profound apology”.
But the 44-year-old premier spoke with apparent feeling  about his toughest two weeks in power: “You don’t make decisions  in hindsight; you make them in the present. You live and you  learn — and believe you me, I have learnt,” he said.
“It was my decision … Of course I regret and I am  extremely sorry about the furore it has caused. With 20:20  hindsight … I would not have offered him the job.”
Beleaguered but hardly under serious threat of being ousted  by his party allies after less than 15 months in office, Cameron  defended his actions and those of his staff in dealings with  police chiefs who resigned this week over the affair and with   Murdoch’s News Corp global media empire.

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