News of the World faces fresh phone hacking charge

As the government is called upon to launch a judicial inquiry into the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World you would think there was a news blackout with half of the national press ignoring the story.

This morning the Guardian reports that another News of the World journalist has been suspended over phone hacking.

The interesting thing about this celebrity reporter is that they had been at the paper since 2005 working there while Andy Coulson was still editor. It is also during the time Coulson is alleged by the New York Times to have freely discussed the use phone hacking with reporters.

David Cameron’s media advisor Coulson has denied the report in the New York Times and has always denied he had knowledge of phone hacking used by reporters. It beggars belief. If you were editor would you not want to know where and how your reporters were getting their stories? Coulson claims ignorance. Or head in the sand or something.

The bad news for Cameron, Coulson and the News of the World has spread to Scotland Yard. It is being accused of having too close a relationship with the tabloid after the New York Times quoted an unnamed detectives saying that the investigation into the phone hacking had been cut short because of its tabloid love in.

The NY Times alleges that Scotland Yard did not share all the information it had with the Crown Prosecution Service and if it had done the conclusion it would have reached would have been a different one.

Tom Watson, the former Labour minister, has called on the government to set up an inquiry into the relationship between Scotland Yard and Rupert Murdoch’s News International.

As Cameron is on holiday, Watson has written to deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, saying that the testimony given to the New York Times is grounds for a judicial inquiry.

Watson’s words were echoed by other Labour MPs. The FT reported that Denis MacShane, the Labour MP and former journalist, said: “Clearly we now need some kind of public inquiry into this because Mr Coulson and News International have offered the most minimum of information.”

Another Labour MP Chris Bryant is one of at least 10 MPs who believe they were hacked into by News of the World reporters,

John Prescott is one of a number of public figures who are reported to be considering legal action against the police for failing to inform them that their phones were being tapped.

Others considering legal action are Sky TV football commentator Andy Gray, the far left former MP George Galloway, and Max Clifford’s one time assistant, Nicola Phillips.

The News of the World is thought to have engaged in illegal phone activity with dozens of celebrities and public figures including Prince William, Prince Harry, former culture secretary Tessa Jowell, London Mayor Boris Johnson and former England football manager Steve McClaren.


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