The former communications chief for David Cameron was arrested by detectives investigating alleged phone hacking and illegal payments to police during his tenure as News of the World editor.
Shortly after being taken into custody at a south London police station, plain-clothed officers were seen carrying evidence bags out of Mr Coulson’s detached home in nearby Forest Hill.
The police entered the property on the leafy residential street after a woman wearing a dark suit answered the door.
Mr Coulson, was arrested at 10.30am by officers from Operation Weeting, the inquiry into phone hacking at the Sunday tabloid, and Operation Elveden, the investigation into allegations that a handful of police officers were illegally paid £100,000 by the newspaper during Coulson’s editorship.
It means he will be questioned about both sets of allegations.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “The Metropolitan Police Service has this morning arrested a member of the public in connection with allegations of corruption and phone hacking.
“At 10:30 officers from Operation Weeting together with officers from Operation Elveden arrested a man on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to Section1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 and on suspicion of corruption allegations contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.
“The man, aged 43yrs, was arrested by appointment at a South London police station. He is currently in custody.”
The 43-year-old will face questions over whether he was aware phone hacking was taking place and whether he ever personally authorised it.
He is likely to be bailed to return at a later date as has been the case with the five others arrested in connection with the current police inquiry.
The arrest is a huge blow to the Prime Minister, who appointed him Downing Street director of communications after last year’s general election.
Mr Coulson was forced to resign in January over continuing allegations of phone hacking and the Prime Minister has been widely criticised for the decision to hire him in the first place.
At a press conference this morning, the Prime Minister said: “I decided to give him a second chance – and no one has ever raised serious concerns about how he did his job for me. But the second chance didn’t work out and he had to resign all over again.”
“The decision to hire him was mine – and mine alone – and I take full responsibility for it.”