Latest on the News International hacking scandal #liveblog 9

17:55 – Sky News is quoting sources saying that the IPCC is investigating Yates for allegedly “inappropriately” giving a job to Neil Wallis’s daughter

This adds to the growing web of links between the Met, NotW and News International.

17:40 -Yates full statement issued – says there is£ ill-informed and on occasion downright malicious gossip published about him”

“Earlier on this afternoon I informed the Home Secretary, the Mayor of London and the Chair of the Police Authority of my intention to resign as Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service. It is with great regret that I make this decision after nearly 30 years as a police officer.

“I wish to pay tribute to the many fine officers and police staff with whom I have served. I will miss them hugely, but I know that they will continue to do their utmost to protect the public and of course this great capital city.

“We in the Police Service are truly accountable. Those of us who take on the most difficult jobs clearly have to stand up and be counted when things go wrong. However, when we get things wrong, we say so and try and put them right. As I have said very recently, it is a matter of great personal regret that those potentially affected by phone hacking were not dealt with appropriately.

“Sadly, there continues to be a huge amount of inaccurate, ill-informed and on occasion downright malicious gossip published about me personally. This has the potential to be a significant distraction in my current role as the national lead for Counter Terrorism. I see no prospect of this improving in the coming weeks and months as we approach one of the most important events in the history of the Metropolitan Police Service, the 2012 Olympic Games. The threats that we face in the modern world are such that I would never forgive myself if I was unable to give total commitment to the task of protecting London and the country during this period. I simply cannot let this situation continue.

“It is a matter of great personal frustration that despite my efforts, on a number of occasions, to explain the true facts surrounding my role in these matters since 2009, there remains confusion about what exactly took place.

I have acted with complete integrity and my conscience is clear. I look forward to the future Judge-led inquiry where my role will be examined in a proper and calmer environment and where my actions will be judged on the evidence rather than on innuendo and speculation as they are at present.”

17:25 – Yates makes statement says he acted with complete integrity – four more officers to be investigated over hacking connections

Full Yates statement expected shortly.

It is also being reported that the Independent Police Complains Commission is investigating another four current and former officers regarding the phone hacking scandal.

The IPCC statement says it is to look Yates “alleged involvement in inappropriately securing employment for the daughter of a friend”. The news comes just after he announced that his conscience was clear and that he acted with integrity. Full statement:

“We have today received referrals from the Metropolitan Police Authority about the conduct of four current or former senior Metropolitan Police officers.

“The matters referred involve:

“The conduct of the Met Commissioner in carrying overall responsibility for the investigation into phone hacking;

“The conduct of Assistant Commissioner John Yates:

- in his review in July 2009 and overall role in relation to the phone hacking investigation; and

- in his alleged involvement in inappropriately securing employment for the daughter of a friend;

“The conduct of two former senior officers in their role in the phone hacking investigation.

“The role of the Met Police in its original investigation into phone hacking has rightly come under huge public scrutiny. These matters are already the subject of a judge-led public inquiry announced on 13 July which is looking into the way in which police investigated allegations of conduct by persons connected to News International.

“I now need to assess these referrals carefully to determine what should be investigated at this stage, bearing in mind the judicial inquiry, and I will seek to liaise with Lord Justice Leveson as soon as possible.

“I will publish our terms of reference once I have carefully reviewed the material referred to us. To the extent that these referrals raise serious allegations about senior Met officers it is right that they be independently investigated – and I will ensure that our investigation follows the evidence without fear or favour.

“It must also be right that people do not rush to judgement until that work is done. Bad timing for Yates.”

16:00 – NotW rivals add 2.35 million extra readers as on Sunday

John Reynolds has the story how NotW rivals hovered up its readers this Sunday:

“Richard Desmond’s Daily Star Sunday more than tripled its circulation on Sunday scoring sales of over 1.1 million as unofficial figures reveal News of the World’s readers switched in their droves to tabloid and mid-market rivals.

“According to unofficial figures, four titles added a total of 2.35 million extra copies yesterday, close to the 2.67 million average issue sales recorded by The News of the World in official June ABC figures,” read the full story on Media Week.

15:00 – Hacking scandal still isn’t likely to seriously shake the company’s US empire

A piece in Ad Age this week arguing that while there remains little evidence of US involvement in the hacking story the impact of the misdeeds of the NotW on the US is likely to be slim.

“Keep in mind that News Corp.’s revenue is hardly tied up in the news assets at the center of the storm. Its publishing businesses, including newspapers, contributed 26.5% of the company’s $24.4 billion in revenue over the nine months ending in March. Its TV networks, TV programming, movies and satellite-TV services operations contributed 70% of that revenue. Is anyone really going to stop watching “American Idol” on Fox or boycott 20th Century Fox movies over phone hacking by a British newspaper?” read the rest on Ad Age.

However, while some pundits think Murdoch might not be hit in the US that doesn’t mean that others don’t seriously think he should be. This piece in the Nation says Murdoch power in the US is as far reaching as it has been in the UK and that it needs to be checked:

“But that’s a fantasy. Just as Murdoch has had far too much control over politics and politicians in Britain during periods of conservative dominance—be it under an actual Tory such as former Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major and current Prime Minister David Cameron or under a faux Tory such as former Prime Minister Tony Blair—he has had far too much control in the States.

And that control, while ideological to some extent, is focused mainly on improving the bottom line for his media properties by securing for them unfair legal and regulatory advantages.Over the past decade, as media reform groups have battled to prevent FCC and Congressional moves to undermine controls on media consolidation, Murdoch and his lobbyists been a constant presence—pushing from the other side for the lifting of limits on the amount and types of media that one corporation can own in particular communities and nationally,” the Nation reports.

15:00 – Official statement from News Corp on News International clean-up — team will include former Telegraph editor
Lewis and Greenberg

News International has confirmed Lord Grabiner QC’s appointment and says that former Daily Telegraph editor Will Lewis and NI spokesman, Simon Greenberg, will work alongside him Management &
Standards Committee. They have been “formally seconded” from their current roles.

Lewis is currently Group General Manager and Greenberg is director of corporate affairs.

Grabiner named as new independent Chairman of Management &
Standards Committee

“News Corporation today confirmed the formal establishment and extension of the mandate of the Management and Standards Committee (MSC) as an independent body outside of News International.

“The MSC is also delighted to confirm the appointment of Lord Grabiner QC as its independent Chairman. Lord Grabiner, 66, is a commercial lawyer who has more than 40 years of experience of high-profile litigation. In addition he is a well-known and widely-respected figure in the banking, finance, academic and business worlds.

“The MSC will report directly to Joel Klein, Executive Vice President and News Corp Board director, who in turn will report to Viet Dinh, an independent director and Chairman of News Corp’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Both will update the News Corp Board of directors which has given the MSC its full support.

“The extension of the MSC’s mandate will be confirmed in its Terms of Reference which will be published in due course.

“Klein, who has previously held the position of Assistant Attorney General in the United States Department of Justice, said: “The extension of the MSC is the next step in dealing with the issues surrounding News International. It will co-operate fully with all authorities and also lay the foundation for future standards. It is therefore vitally important that it is independent and properly governed.

“We are very pleased that such an eminent person as Lord Grabiner has agreed to be the independent Chairman. He will bring his undoubted experience and intellect to this very important role. His appointment clearly demonstrates that we are serious about putting things right that have gone wrong in the past.”

“The MSC is authorised to co-operate fully with all relevant investigations and inquiries in the News of the World phone hacking case, police payments and all other related issues across News International, as well as conducting its own enquiries where appropriate.

“It will also be responsible for proposing and overseeing the implementation of new compliance, ethics and governance procedures at News International.

“William Lewis and Simon Greenberg will be formally seconded to the MSC from their current positions at News International as full-time executive members with immediate effect. All responsibilities from their previous roles as Group General Manager and Director of Corporate Affairs will be reassigned.

“Jeff Palker, News Corp’s General Counsel for Europe and Asia, the other MSC’s executive member, will continue to be responsible for legal affairs throughout the region including direct oversight of the legal function at News International.

“The MSC will be housed in a secure unit separate from the main News International office to ensure independence.”

14:55 – Boris Johnson is asked if he regrets calling phone hacking scandal “codswallop”. Doesn’t answer the question via Jonathan Haynes.

14:50 – News Corp names Lord Grabiner QC to lead News International clean-Up

Sky News’ Mark Kleinman has the story of News Corp poised to name Lord Grabiner QC to chair News International’s management and standards committee.

“News Corp is poised to confirm shortly my scoop that Lord Grabiner QC will chair the management and standards committee charged with cleaning up the company’s UK newspaper arm.

“I also understand that Will Lewis and Simon Greenberg, two of the NI execs on that committee, will step down from their current roles to become News Corp employees, including the transfer of their employment contracts, incentive plans and desks to News Corp. That’s designed to ensure that they are not investigating their own employer,” Kleinman writes.

14: 38 – Full statement from Rebekah Brooks’s lawyer

“The position of Rebekah Brooks can be simply stated. She is not guilty of any criminal offence. The position of the Metropolitan Police is less easy to understand. Despite arresting her yesterday and conducting an interview process lasting 9 hours, they put no allegations to her, and showed her no documents connecting her with any crime. They will in due course have to give an account of their actions, and in particular their decision to arrest her, with the enormous reputational damage that this has involved.

“In the meantime, Mrs Brooks has an appointment with the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee tomorrow. She remains willing to attend and to answer questions. It is a matter for Parliament to decide what issues to put to her and whether her appointment should take place at a later date.”

14:15 – Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Yates resigns

John Yates has followed his boss out of the door and resigned today as earlier predicted by the Guardian (see 12:50).

According to the Met Yates will make resignation statement later this afternoon. Speculation is that he was pushed rather than jumped. Mayor Boris Johnson says that the resignation of Yates and Sir Paul were  “regrettable” but right.

He joins Sir Paul, Rebekah Brooks, Les Hinton and Andy Coulson among the growing club of high profile hacking casualties.

Keir Simmons, ITV’s UK editor for ITV News tweets that there is no “question John Yates will have been pushed to go, had no intention of resigning this morning”.

Johnson appears to sidestep issue of backing Cameron. Asked if Cameron should resign Johnson answered “this is a matter you must direct to Number 10″. Ouch. He must be thinking of those shortening Ladbrokes odds (see 13:10).

14:00 – Miliband calls for media ownership laws to be toughened

Maisie McCabe reports on Ed Miliband’s call for the introduction of harsher rules governing media ownership, describing News Corporation’s power as “not healthy”. Read the full story

13:15 -  Guidio Fawkes is saying that Yates has been suspended, but no confirmation until around two o’clock

BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg says Met Police Authority won’t confirm decision to suspend the Met’s Assistant commissioner John Yates until 13:55 – just minutes before Boris Johnson begins press conference.

13:10 – Ladbrokes slashes odds on Cameron resigning as PM to 20/1

Ladbrokes is backing Home secretary Theresa May and Philip Hammond Secretary of State for Transport to replace him.

“David Cameron’s odds of leaving Cabinet next have been slashed to 20/1 (from 100/1) by Ladbrokes. It gives a 2011 general election odds of 8/1.

It says the shrewd money is on Theresa May & Phillip Hammond while Boris Johnson is the 4/1 market leader from George Osborne at 6/1.

Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes said: “Cameron’s at the centre of a surprise political gamble which could prove costly for us. There’s also early speculation about his replacement with May & Hammond backed at bigger prices for the job.” HT @AndrewBloch.

12:50 – The Guardian is reporting that John Yates will resign later today

The paper quotes a source “who is normally reliable that John Yates will resign later today. I’m sorry I can’t tell you any more. This is not confirmation that he will definitely go, but – knowing a bit more about where this is coming from than I’m in a position to disclose – I’m taking it very seriously”, the paper says.

It had earlier been reported (see 11:45) that he would be suspended.

12:45 – Brooks’s lawyer in a Sky TV statement says she is “not guilty of any criminal offence”.

“The position of the Metropolitan police is less easy to understand. Despite arresting her yesterday, and conducting an interview process lasting nine hours, they put no allegations to her and showed her no documents connecting her with any crime.

“They will in due course have to give an account of their actions, and in particular their decision to arrest her with the enormous reputational damage that this has involved,” said Rebekah Brooks’s lawyer Stephen Parkinson (Kingsley Napley criminal litigation head).

12:40 – Culture Committee says the Murdochs will be on from 14:30 tomorrow

The Culture Select Committee has confirmed line up for tomorrow. At 14:30 Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch will appear. They will be followed at 15:00 by Rebekah Brooks.

Its going to be packed. The Culture Committee will meet in the Wilson Room of Portcullis House with the overspill of visitors in the Boothroyd Room with live TV link up, according to ITV political correspondent Chris Ship.

12:30 – Ed Miliband slams Cameron in speech saying the PM is hamstrung over affair

The Labour leader goes as close as you can to calling for David Cameron to step down:

“Sir Paul Stephenson yesterday made an honourable decision and took responsibility.

“It is of great concern, however, that the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police was unable to discuss vital issues with the Prime Minister because he felt that David Cameron was himself compromised on this issue because of Andy Coulson.

“It is also striking that Sir Paul Stephenson ha s taken responsibility and resigned over the employment of Mr Coulson’s deputy, while the Prime Minister hasn’t even apologised for hiring Mr Coulson.

“We need leadership to get to the truth of what happened. But David Cameron is hamstrung by his own decisions and his unwillingness to face up to them.

“But it is also important for the country to do something more than have full transparency on what has happened.

“Every so often, an event like this happens. And we have to ask ourselves deeper questions What does it say about our country? How did we let this happen? And how do we change to ensure this does not happen again?”

You can read his full speech here

12:15 – Decision expected this week on future of James Murdoch at BSkyB

The BBC’s business editor, Robert Peston, has tweeted that a decision is expected this week on whether James Murdoch will stand down as chairman of BSkyB.

Yesterday it had been reported that BSkyB was this week to weigh the future of James Murdoch with directors at the pay TV firm also considering a payback of up to £2bn for investors.

However, any discussion of James Murdoch’s future was expected when the BSkyB board gathers in 10 days for a board meeting.

“The board of British Sky Broadcasting is expected to decide by the end of this week whether James Murdoch should stand down as its chairman. According to a well-placed source, there is a growing view among the company’s non-executives that the burden for James Murdoch of “fighting the fires” at News Corporation – where he is in charge of European operations and is deputy chief operating officer – means that he will find it hard to devote enough time to chairing BSkyB, the largest media and entertainment company in the UK,” Peston blogs.

11:45 – Met’s Assistant commissioner Yates to be suspended, says Telegraph

The paper says that John Yates, one of Scotland Yard’s most senior detectives, who is to be investigated over his links with former NotW journalist Neil Wallis, will be suspended.

“The dramatic announcement is likely to be made by Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, and his deputy Kit Malthouse, at a press conference on Monday afternoon.The Metropolitan Police Authority is currently holding a meeting to discuss Mr Yates’ handling of the phone hacking affair and his links with Mr Wallis, a former senior exectuive at the News of the World.It is understood the authority has decided to hold an investigation,” the paper reports.

Earlier this morning Boris Johnson, the London Mayor,  said that the assistant commissioner would face “questions” over his links with Wallis – the NotW’s former deputy editor.

An official statement is due at 12:30. If he is suspended or resigns he will follow his boss, Sir Paul Stephenson, out of the door.

11:15 – Meet the Culture Select Committee: who should the Murdochs fear most?

PR Agency Fishburn Hedges has produced this handy cut out and keep bluffers guide to to the MPs on the Culture, Media and Sports Committee who will tomorrow grill Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks.

It singles out three MPs to watch: Labour’s redoubtable Tom Watson (Lab), Louise Mensch (Con) and Adrian Sanders (Lib Dem). It gives each MP an “aggression” and a media expertise ranking.

See the full Fishburn Hedges run down here.

10:25 – Hackgate the movie

Okay its a spoof, but this is going to be a great book(s) and movie when it gets made. The choice of Colin Firth as Hugh Grant is spot on. The are some great possibilities for titles. The Prime Minister’s man? World’s end?

“News International: the movie trailer. Parody created by Paul and Lisa at Handface. Special thanks to Andrew Scott.” Via @heatherAtaylor

10:10 – Cameron says Parliament will sit on Wednesday and he will take questions

David Cameron, speaking at a press conference in South Africa, has put off the summer recess of Parliament, which had been due begin tomorrow, for a day. He said it will sit on Wednesday and he will take questions in the House and make a statement.

Earlier today Ed Miliband had called on Cameron to delay the recess. He will no doubt be taking it as another win.

The move (see below) means Cameron will rush back from South African ending his trade trip early.

09:40 – Cameron to cut short his Africa trade visit to return to deal with phone hacking scandal

David Cameron, who has just arrived in Johannesburg for the start of trade trip to South Africa, is to cut short his trip so he can return to the UK to deal with the on-going hacking row.

09:15 – Brooks hires Bell Pottinger chairman to handle media

Bell Pottinger chairman David Wilson has been appointed by Rebekah Brooks following her resignation as News International chief executive and subsequent arrest.

“Wilson has been appointed as Brooks’ official spokesman and will handle press enquires around the ongoing investigation into the phone hacking at the News of the World. Wilson was unavailable for immediate comment.

“Wilson previously worked with the PR team aiding Madeleine McCann’s parents in the first weeks after her abduction,” PR Week reports.

09:00 – Wall Street Journal in defiant defence of News Corp

Dropping any hint of impartiality Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal today has written an extraordinary editorial in defence of its parent News Corp. You get the impression that words convey what its chairman really thinks.

It accuses British politicians of long knowing the problems of British tabloids ans says those same people are the ones who long coveted media influence. It accuses its rivals of commercial motives and the politicians leading the charge as a mob:

“We also trust that readers can see through the commercial and ideological motives of our competitor-critics. The Schadenfreude is so thick you can’t cut it with a chainsaw. Especially redolent are lectures about journalistic standards from publications that give Julian Assange and WikiLeaks their moral imprimatur. They want their readers to believe, based on no evidence, that the tabloid excesses of one publication somehow tarnish thousands of other News Corp. journalists across the world.

“In braying for politicians to take down Mr. Murdoch and News Corp., our media colleagues might also stop to ask about possible precedents. The political mob has been quick to call for a criminal probe into whether News Corp. executives violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with payments to British security or government officials in return for information used in news stories. Attorney General Eric Holder quickly obliged last week, without so much as a fare-thee-well to the First Amendment”, the WSJ says.

Some will be wondering who wrote the editorial and looking to Australian journalist Robert Thomson. He is the former Times editor who was appointed  managing editor of the Wall Street Journal four months after Murdoch bought the paper in December 2007 for £2.8bn.

Thomson was appointed at the same time of Les Hinton was appointed chief executive of Dow Jones. Hinton resigned on Friday.

08:45 – Tom Watson asks Serious Fraud Office to investigate News International

It is being reported this morning by PA that Labour MP Tom Watson has written to the Serious Fraud Office and asked it to investigate News International.

He has asked the SFO to investigate out of court settlements made in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. Watson called payments made to public figures, including Gordon Taylor, former head of the FA, a “gross misuse of shareholders’ money”.

08:30 – Max Clifford says scandal is ‘damaging’ Cameron

The Telegraph reports Max Clifford giving his view on how the hacking scandal has hit the prime minister, David Cameron, following the arrest of Rebekah Brooks and the resignation of Metropolitan police commission Sir Paul Stephenson yesterday.

He said that politicians were only standing up because of the Milly Dowler aspect to the case

“It’s certainly damaging him [Cameron] at the moment. But we need to know exactly what went on and so, in terms of Rupert Murdoch, I find it staggering that the BSkyB deal was going through. It is only because of Milly Dowler that politicians are now standing up,” Clifford told the Telegraph.

In his resignation statement Sir Paul, who faced criticism for hiring ex-News of the World journalist Neil Wallis as a PR adviser, pointed the finger at Cameron as did others for hiring someone so closely associated with the hacking scandal.


“Unlike Mr Coulson, Mr Wallis had not resigned from News of the World or, to the best of my knowledge been in any way associated with the original phone hacking investigation,” Sir Paul said.

“People will wonder at why different rules apply for the Prime Minister and the Met, especially when as Sir Paul said himself, unlike Andy Coulson, Neil Wallis had not been forced to resign from the News of the World.

“It is also a very serious concern that the Met Commissioner felt unable to tell the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary about this operational issue with Neil Wallis because of the Prime Minister’s relationship with Andy Coulson. It appears that their compromised relationship with Andy Coulson has put the Commissioner in a very difficult position and made it even harder for the Met to maintain confidence around this difficult issue. Both David Cameron and Theresa May must take their share of the responsibility for this situation.”

08:00 – Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper turns pressure up on Cameron

In a statement issued last night Cooper called Sir Paul’s resignation honourable but she asked why different rules applies to Britain’s top police officer and the prime minister:

“It is striking that Sir Paul has taken responsibility and answered questions about the appointment of the Deputy Editor of the News of the World whereas the Prime Minister still refuses to recognise his misjudgement and answer questions on the appointment of the Editor of the News of the World at the time of the initial phone hacking investigation.

“People will wonder at why different rules apply for the Prime Minister and the Met, especially when as Sir Paul said himself, unlike Andy Coulson, Neil Wallis had not been forced to resign from the News of the World.

“It is also a very serious concern that the Met Commissioner felt unable to tell the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary about this operational issue with Neil Wallis because of the Prime Minister’s relationship with Andy Coulson. It appears that their compromised relationship with Andy Coulson has put the Commissioner in a very difficult position and made it even harder for the Met to maintain confidence around this difficult issue. Both David Cameron and Theresa May must take their share of the responsibility for this situation.”

07:50 – Brooks bailed as Stephenson and Hinton quit

Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief executive who resigned on Friday, was released on police bail late last night after being arrested and questioned over the phone hacking scandal engulfing the media company.


“Brooks was released at around midnight. She was questioned as part of the investigations by the Met Police into the interception of phone messages and payments to police.

“She has always maintained she had no knowledge of wrongdoing at the News of the World, when she edited the paper, and subsequently when she was chief executive of parent company News International,” Brand Republic reports.

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