United Kingdom

British PM announces inquiry into phone-hacking scandal

British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced the creation of a full public inquiry led by a judge into the phone-hacking scandal which has seen the closure of one of the country’s most popular tabloid newspapers, the News of the World.  

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Cameron said there would be a second inquiry to examine regulation of the press in the light of the crisis.

Meanwhile, Cameron’s former press aide Andy Coulson is to be detained over claims he knew that journalists and private detectives working for the newspaper were hacking phones of public figures while he was editor of the paper.

Coulson became editor in 2003 but resigned in 2007 after royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed for hacking telephones belonging to members of the royal household.

Coulson was then hired by David Cameron as a media aide. Cameron said Thursday that he accepts full responsibility for employing him following his departure from the News of the World.

News of Coulson’s imminent arrest came hours after media mogul Rupert Murdoch announced that the 168-year-old paper would print its last edition on Sunday. That follows claims that it hacked the phones of a murdered girl and the families of dead soldiers, and that it paid police for stories.

Opposition leader Ed Miliband said in a speech on Friday that Cameron had to "come clean" about conversations he had with Coulson about the phone-hacking
scandal.

Tunde Oyedele, a media lawyer with RT Coopers solicitors, described the media frenzy in London.

“I’m literally overlooking the entrance to News International. Everybody was outside yesterday - ITV, BBC, Sky - everybody was here with their cameras. Traffic was being diverted off the back road, which leads you right up to the entrance of the car park.

"This is a 168-year-old paper. It stands for everything British in the press sense.

"It’s a real shock. You could just tell by the atmosphere outside News International that it was a huge shock.

“To now be one of the parties in such an action and to be on the wrong side of the fence, ie perpetrator, ethically it goes against the ethos of News of the World. So, ethically, they’ve thrown themselves into the cauldron, really, with the breach of privacy laws, and to do things that the general public would see as abhorrent.”

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