As it happened: Phone-hacking scandal

Key points

  • Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson is arrested by police investigating phone hacking and corruption allegations
  • Prime Minister David Cameron defends decision to hire Mr Coulson
  • Two inquiries to be held - one to be judge-led - and Press Complaints Commission to be scrapped
  1.  
    1551:

    Welcome to our live page. We'll be keeping you up to date with all the latest developments in the phone hacking scandal over the coming hours.

     
  2.  
    1606:

    Let's kick off with a quick summary of today's latest. The big news is the arrest of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson. We then heard Clive Goodman, the paper's former royal editor jailed in 2007 for hacking, was also arrested on corruption allegations.

     
  3.  
    1606:

    The BBC's also learned that media regulator Ofcom is concerned about the proposed takeover of BSkyB by the News of the World's ultimate owner - Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

     
  4.  
    1608: Carole Walker, BBC political correspondent

    The Broadcasting regulator Ofcom has written to the chairman of the Commons Culture Committee, highlighting its duty to ensure that anyone holding a broadcasting licence is a "fit and proper" person to do so. The letter says "in considering whether any licensee remains a fit and proper person to hold broadcasting licences, Ofcom will consider any relevant conduct of those who manage and control such a licence".

     
  5.  
    1615: Pariar in Canada

    emails: The world is a better place with one less newspaper that shares gossip and backbiting. I would not call that journalism. It is an unethical and immoral newspaper, as are all tabloids.

     
  6.  
    1616: Carole Walker, BBC political correspondent

    I understand Ofcom will be writing to the police, the Press Complaints Commission and the relevant select committees of both Houses of Parliament.

     
  7.  
    1616:

    At News of the World's offices, tensions are understandably running high. We're told Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News International, is to speak to the newsroom any time now. Her position has been under threat and there have been calls for her to resign.

     
  8.  
    1616: Adrian Sturrock in Aylesbury, England

    emails: This pretence at moral outrage by James Murdoch is as shabby as the primary issue in question here. It seems quite obvious that the allegedly moral decision to close down the newspaper allows News International a convenient PR get-out as the News of the World's advertising revenue finds itself slashed by major brand clients clambering to disassociate themselves from any possible rub-off stigma of the title. I hope that the charities that Murdoch is 'kindly' now offering the paper's decaying dead space to will also carefully contemplate the implications of associating themselves through accepting this cynical gesture.

     
  9.  
    1617: Oli in the UK

    emails: So an 168-year-old newspaper goes to the wall to protect the poisoned reputations of a few. As the infection is traced still further backwards and upwards, attempts at distraction become more extreme and less effective.

     
  10.  
    1618:

    Shares in BSkyB take a further drop following the publication of the Ofcom letter. They are at about 750p, having begun the week close to 850p.

     
  11.  
    1627:

    While we wait to hear the latest from the News of the World meeting, another newsroom has become embroiled. The Daily Star Sunday - where Clive Goodman now works - said detectives spent two hours at its central London offices and took away a disc containing a record of all his computer activity. The paper stressed there was "no suggestion whatsoever" that the journalist acted improperly during his occasional freelance shifts at the tabloid.

     
  12.  
    John Prescott

    tweets: If a News International executive did delete millions of emails in January THIS YEAR there's no way Murdoch can takeover BSkyB now #NOTW

     
  13.  
    @ExNOTWJourno

    tweets: Brooks staying. That's my info at this moment. She feels betrayed by the hackers. Betrayed. I'm not in the meeting. I'm being fed from the meeting.

     
  14.  
    1635:

    Reaction is coming in to Prime Minister David Cameron's plans to hold a full judge-led public inquiry into hacking once the police investigation has concluded. Media lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC says it's not a legal requirement to wait until the end of the investigation, and would be a mistake. "If we want to get to the bottom of what is a really groundbreaking public scandal, we need to set up an inquiry that starts immediately," he says.

     
  15.  
    Sky News Political Correspondent, Sophy Ridge

    tweets: These tweets are all from sources at the meeting - am passing on what they're telling me but may not be exact quotes of course. Rebekah Brooks says the decision to close the NotW was taken because there was another two years plus ahead of trouble. She has also paid tribute to the "talented and untainted" staff at NotW.

     
  16.  
    1651:

    The BBC's own political editor Nick Robinson has been considering David Cameron's response to the arrest of Andy Coulson, who led his communications team and became his friend. David Cameron is, in effect, asking for a second chance - just as Coulson once did , Nick Robinson writes.

     
  17.  
    1654:

    Rebekah Brooks is talking to staff, we understand. But what do we know about the woman at the top of News International? Friends say she's emotionally intelligent rather than academic, able to get what she wants out of people, a typical Gemini - Edward Stourton writes in his profile on Ms Brooks.

     
  18.  
    1706:

    Pictures are coming through from earlier today of detectives leaving Andy Coulson's south London home following a search. In the meantime, he was being questioned at a nearby police station.

    Detectives carry bags out of Andy Coulson's home Bags of possible evidence are removed from the former newspaper editor's home
     
  19.  
    1711: Jon Brain, BBC News

    We understand Rebekah Brooks has told staff she will not resign and has said she feels betrayed by the people responsible for the demise of the News of the World.

     
  20.  
    Keith Jessup in Worksop, Notts, England

    emails: It does seem rather strange that the senior managers at the NoW were lacking in knowledge of any phone hacking when a prime requirement of any good executive would be to question where the scoops came from. To not know would suggest that they were either incompetent or unwilling to know of any possible impropriety. Either answer would indicate that the wrong people are loosing their jobs and that it is very risky to allow the power of the press barons to increase when they appear to condone corruption or turn a blind eye to it.

     
  21.  
    Patrick Foster

    tweets: #NotW insider tells me: We're being treated like criminals. Emails and internet shut down. Security patrolling the newsroom.

     
  22.  
    Louis Lambri, in London, England

    emails: Closing down a popular paper like the NoW doesn't change what happened, most of the workers who'll lose their jobs will have had nothing to do with this scandal, an internal investigation needs to take place and the handful of pen pushers who ordered the phone hacking, should stand trial for serious abuse of their position. Closing the paper just sweeps the scandal under the carpet.

     
  23.  
    1719: Jon Brain, BBC News, at Wapping

    Staff are not happy that the paper has closed while Rebekah Brooks has survived. Many staff believe that they have been sacrificed for the BSkyB bid. Staff though say the atmosphere has been actually very good after the shock of yesterday and they have decided to rally together and produce the best possible paper they can for Sunday - the last ever edition.

     
  24.  
    Sophy Ridge

    tweets: Rebekah also talked about her rise from a NotW trainee to it's Chief Executive, and says if there's anyone she's loyal to it's NotW.

     
  25.  
    1724:

    When News International chairman James Murdoch announced the closure of the NoW, he said charities could advertise for free in the final edition. But the Salvation Army, Care International and the RSPCA have already turned down the offer. The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which has just launched a fundraising drive for East Africa, is still making up its mind.

     
  26.  
    Simon Price

    brilliant blogs: The demise of the News of the World is a sad indictment on the hunger of the British public for salacious gossip and the need to pore over the lives and deaths of others.

     
  27.  
    1738:

    Members of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) - which David Cameron wants scrapped - say its work will go on. "It is important for everyone to recognise that the government cannot simply order the replacement of the PCC, because it is an independent organisation. While we publicly accept the need for reform and improvement, and welcome the inquiries, our highly important work must still go on, in order that our service to the public (to obtain redress both before and after publication) can continue. Those who are calling for the end of the PCC have undervalued and underestimated its day-to-day work," a statement read.

     
  28.  
    Jamie Adam in Wendover, UK

    emails: What the News of the World seems to have lost sight of in the race to sell extra copies is what is of interest to the public is not necessarily 'In the Public Interest'. With reality television, it is fascinating to have detailed insights into other people's lives, but that is with the consent of those involved. It may be of interest, finding out deeply personal details relating to grieving families, whether or not they are high profile celebrities or not, it is none of our business.

     
  29.  
    Sophy Ridge

    tweets: Rebekah Brookes meeting with News if the World has just ended, I'm hearing.

     
  30.  
    Patrick Foster

    tweets: Rebekah Brooks email to all News International staff: No decision on new publications. I'm not going. Brooks continues: "Management and standards committee will not report to me but to New York" #Notw

     
  31.  
    1748:

    Unconfirmed reports from the Guardian are saying Rebekah Brooks will not lead the phone hacking clean-up committee at News International.

     
  32.  
    1755:

    BBC's Radio 5 Live is told by an anonymous News of the World employee, who was at this afternoon's staff meeting, that Rebekah Brooks was confident and calm. The mood was not openly hostile, but there was anger among staff. Mrs Brooks apparently said the News of the World had to be shut down because there was worse to come. She dodged a question about resignation and suggested she was the best person to lead the company out of its current difficulties.

     
  33.  
    1756:

    More from 5 Live's anonymous employee - Mrs Brooks said she did not expect to be arrested and she did not confirm there would be a new Sunday Sun. After Mrs Brooks' speech, staff were taken through redundancy options.

     
  34.  
    1800:

    News International confirms that Rebekah Brooks is no longer in charge of its internal investigation. It says chairman James Murdoch has decided in the interests of transparency and good governance that the management and standards committee will be led by Joel Klein in New York - Joel Klein is a former US deputy attorney general.

     
  35.  
    1812:

    Rumours continue over the launch of a Sunday Sun. Our media correspondent Torin Douglas considers how quickly we can expect a successor and what form it might take. In his view, News International seems unlikely to be without a Sunday tabloid for long, even though the News of the World brand has been badly damaged, and red-top newspaper sales are in steep decline.

     
  36.  
    Former UK ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer

    tweets: Good statement by PCC public commissioners that govt can't order closure of independent body and leave thousands of its users in the lurch.

     
  37.  
    1822:

    Sky News is playing an apparent secret audio recording from the staff meeting. One member of staff can be heard accusing Ms Brooks of arrogance in believing that they might want to work for her again. A ripple of applause is followed by Ms Brooks denying any intention of arrogance.

     
  38.  
    BBC Journalist, Polly Evans

    tweets: Tonight; former Kent police officer says leaks to #NOTW about a murder investigation may have put his officers at risk. BBC1, 6.30 #SET

     
  39.  
    1827:

    Another BBC source, who was at this afternoon's staff meeting, says Ms Brooks claimed she had had "some visibility" of what was still to come and that in a year's time staff would understand why the paper had to be closed down.

     
  40.  
    Alastair Campbell

    on the Daily Beast blogs: The phone hacking scandal certainly raises questions about the conduct of the British press and the police. But it also raises questions about the judgment of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the extent to which he became so close to those at the center of the storm.

     
  41.  
    Richard Hall

    tweets: Rebekah Brooks to a crowd of people who have just been sacked: "This is not exactly the best time in my life." #notw.

     
  42.  
    1840:

    It's understood the News of the World is sending its subscribers a letter expressing "great regret". In echoes of James Murdoch's statement on Thursday, it says: "In recent times the good things that the News of the World have done have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong and inexcusable. As a result, the very difficult decision to close down the paper and notw.co.uk has been made." Subscribers are told they will be entitled to a refund if they have outstanding credit. It signs off - "Thank you for reading the News of the World".

     
  43.  
    James Mason in London, England

    emails: Previous governments have turned a blind eye at this so called newspaper's wrong doing. I just thank God that it has now blown up in their faces. Murdoch newspapers have been running the UK for far too long. Its time they were taken down a peg or two. To be able to bribe the Police, with impunity, and just do whatever you want in a Country that abhorred corruption and has common sense in abundance I am very disgusted that it all went on for so long. We criticize FIFA and other developing Countries about the levels of corruption when in fact our own backyard needed a good clean.

     
  44.  
    1848:

    BSkyB's share price dropped nearly 8% today as investors ditched shares, reducing the company's market value by \u00a31.1bn to \u00a313.1bn.

     
  45.  
    1854:

    Talk on Twitter suggests there may be more to come from News of the World staff later tonight, but for now it's time to say goodbye and thanks for joining us.

     

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