This live blog was published on Tuesday July 12th.
MPs on the home affairs select committee questioned senior members of the Metropolitan police service about phone hacking. This morning, John Yates and Andy Hayman were both questioned. Sue Akers, in charge of Operation Weeting, the current investigation into hacking, was the last to testify.
14.25: Akers has now finished. She had a much smoother ride than Hayward or Yates – unsurprisingly given her investigation is ongoing.
Here is the final roundup of what happened today:
- Yates admitted he spent only eight hours reviewing the 11,000 documents collated by the first investigation when deciding not to review it. He admitted “there was an element” of doing the bare minimum of work when making this decision;
- Yates refused to bow to calls for his resignation, saying he played a “tiny part” int he whole affair;
- Hayman rebutted claims he refused to push his investigation further because News International journalists had details of an affair he was having, calling the allegation “terribly grubby”;
- Hayman said his role as a columnist for The Times did not reflect on his role as a policeman, saying it had been a “boyhood dream” to be a journalist;
- Operation Weeting, the current investigation into hacking, will contact all the 4,000 people who appear in the notebook of Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator previously used to hack phones by the News of the World. But only 170 have so far been contacted.
That’s the end of our live blog
The string of allegations made by the Guardian about the ways in which News International reporters and investigators targeted Gordon Brown are extraordinary. They include:
- Brown and his wife’s Sarah’s names appearing in Glenn Mulcaire’s notebook;
- the hacking of Brown’s accountant’s computers to obtain personal financial information;
- the conning of lawyers at top City firm Allen & Overy to hand over personal legal details;
- the blagging of Abbey National employee’s to get Brown’s bank account details.
Westminster is in tumult. In the last hour, allegations of phone hacking, corruption and other journalistic misdeeds at News International have developed significantly.
Here is the latest:
Monitor, the current foundation trust regulator and, under the government’s NHS plans, soon to be the health service’s new economic regulator as well, has scrapped, at least for now, its plan to appoint a new chief executive.
The move demonstrates the profound uncertainty that still haunts Andrew Lansley’s reforms, despite the end of the famous “pause”.
Shirley Williams, the Lib Dem peer, has made clear that her party in the Lord still intends to try to amend the bill, whatever deal has been done in the Commons. The large medical mafia in the Lords and Labour will doubtless seek to do the same. Read more
Andy Coulson, former head of communications to David Cameron in Number 10, has been arrested for phone hacking and corruption. This came less than an hour after a press conference at which David Cameron came close to calling for Rebekah Brooks’ resignation.
Andy Coulson (c) Getty Images
11.56: We’re going to shut down the live blog now, but keep an eye on the FT website for regular updates on this story throughout the day. Here is a final roundup of today’s events:
- Andy Coulson, the former head of communications to David Cameron, has been arrested on charges of phone hacking and corruption.
- David Cameron has defended his decision to appoint Coulson, saying he wanted to give him a second chance.
- But Cameron came close to calling for the head of Rebekah Brooks, News International’s chief executive, saying if he had been offered her resignation he would have taken it.
- There will be two public enquiries into phone hacking: one led by a judge looking at specific allegations of hacking; the other at wider media ethics.
- The second, broader enquiry will look at a replacement for the Press Complaints Commission, marking an effective end to the PCC.
Apparently sensational news from News International – this Sunday will see the last edition of the News of the World. Drastic action, so it seems, to distance the company once and for all from the hacking saga.
One note of caution: Michael White at the Guardian predicts this is a move to help the company streamline operations, and that it will launch a seven-day Sun, which would be the NotW in all but name.
I have no idea whether that is the case. But for now, here is NI’s full statement:
News International today announces that this Sunday, 10 July 2011, will be the last issue of the News of the World.
Top stuff here from Bloomberg’s Rob Hutton (@robdothutton).
Since the coalition government took over, and particularly since George Osborne laid out exactly which cuts he would make, confidence of UK consumers in the economy has nosedived.
I wrote yesterday that David Cameron and the Tories in general are finding themselves on the wrong side of public opinion over phone hacking. Some think it is far worse than that.
Peter Oborne has written columns in both the Spectator and the Telegraph today ripping into Cameron and his government for their ties to News International. In a piece for The Telegraph headlined David Cameron is in the sewer because of his News International friends, Oborne says phone hacking will be as damaging for Cameron as Iraq was for Tony Blair. He says:
David Cameron, who has returned from Afghanistan as a profoundly damaged figure, now faces exactly such a crisis. The series of disgusting revelations concerning his friends and associates from Rupert Murdoch’s News International has permanently and irrevocably damaged his reputation.
This Friday was meant to draw to a close Rupert Murdoch’s dogged pursuit of British Sky Broadcasting. The final consultation over, everyone expected the broadcaster to finally fall into the hands of News Corp – on the condition that the media mogul spins off the Sky News service as a separate company.
The phone hacking scandal has thrown News Corp’s pursuit of BSkyB back into the lion pit. Ed Miliband demanded today that the government refer the bid to the Competition Commission to a chorus of approval from MPs in the Commons. Read more
David Cameron did not have an easy PMQs today. Ed Miliband took the most of the opportunity and made him squirm over phone hacking at the News of the World.
There is no reason Labour should necessarily be making the running on this: it is essentially a non-political matter that politicians could unite behind to give journalists a good kicking. And that’s what Cameron tried to do: backing calls for a public inquiry into the allegations and inviting the other party leaders for talks on how that inquiry should proceed.
The problem is that he is on the back foot about other elements of this story: the bid by News Corp for BSkyB and his relationship with both Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks. Read more
Coverage as it happened of Wednesday’s prime minister’s questions and the parliamentary debate on phone hacking at the News of the World. The debate followed shock allegations that the tabloid hacked into the mobile phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. Read more
Apologies for the lack of the posts over the past few days, which has been due to a combination of holiday and overseas work assignments. Normal service will resume on Wednesday with coverage of PMQs and the emergency House of Commons debate on phone hacking.