Cameron expresses hindsight regret

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London: Embattled British Premier David Cameron on Wednesday came close to apologising for hiring former News of the World deputy editor Andy Coulson as his media adviser, saying he would not have done it "in hindsight," as he launched a spirited response to the biggest political crisis of his term.

In his showdown with angry opposition in the House of Commons, Cameron said he had done nothing wrong in the now mothballed Murdoch bid for BSkyB and also had no dealings with another NOTW hacking suspect Neil Wallis.

He, however, defended his former communications chief, saying Coulson should be held innocent until proven guilty, making an emergency statement to parliament on the phone- hacking scandal, a day after media mogul Rupert Murdoch refused to take the blame for the phone hackings that have already led to resignations of two top London cops.

Cameron, nevertheless, said he would offer a "profound apology" if Coulson came out tainted in the scandal.

"People will of course make judgements about it. Of course I regret and I am extremely sorry about the furore it has caused," Cameron said.

"With 20-20 hindsight and all that has followed, I would not have offered him the job and I expect that he wouldn`t have taken it.

"But you don`t make decisions in hindsight, you make them in the present. You live and you learn and believe you me, I have learned," the Prime Minister said.

Cameron also said that the arrested ex-deputy editor of NOTW, Wallis may have advised Coulson before last year`s general election but denied that his Conservative party had paid him.

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