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News International sacks Edmondson

Robert Peston | 16:33 UK time, Wednesday, 26 January 2011

I have learned that News International yesterday sacked former head of news at News of the World Ian Edmondson. His dismissal followed an investigation into his possible involvement in the illegal hacking of mobile phones.

After an extensive trawl of his e-mails, News International has found what sources described as "highly damaging evidence". This has been passed to the police and is understood to lie behind the decision of the police to reopen the hacking inquiry.

Update 1720: Here's a bit more information about the sacking of Ian Edmondson.

At 1000 yesterday investigators from News International found e-mails that allegedly show that Mr Edmondson had knowledge of attempts to hack into the mobile phones of prominent individuals by the private investigator Glen Mulcaire.

News International confronted Mr Edmondson with the e-mails and dismissed him at 1600.

The UK arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation then sent the new evidence to the police. And it is this information which is the basis of the fresh police enquiry announced today.

There can now be no doubt that News International has abandoned its previous position that it had uncovered everything there was to find about possible malpractice in the way the News of the World tried to uncover information about the private lives of celebrities and public figures.

It now appears to be aggressively investigating the involvement of its employees in a way it didn't do hitherto.


  • Comment number 1.

    We likely to see some arrests obver this stuff? Was coulson implicated? was Gordon Brown a target? give us some gossip Pesto!

  • Comment number 2.

    Did his emails contain sexist comments about Assistant Referees?

  • Comment number 3.

    If Edmundson then Coulson? If Coulson then Cameron? Should be an exciting few weeks unless Cameron tells Hunt to call off his dogs now barking at Murdoch!

  • Comment number 4.

    Does everyone believe in coincidences? Coulson resigns. Gordon Brown's worries are aired. Alistair Campbell writes to the Met. Murdoch flies in - even cancels his high profile Davos visit. Ian Edmondson sacked. All within a week or so. Isnt it best to let natural justice overtake the underlying megalomania of Murdoch corp?

  • Comment number 5.

    A little bit of trouble in the ranks. Obviously Sky was going to do without their services soon anyway. Yeah right. Looks like Murdochs are in reactive mode at the moment. How will the markets react though?
    No doubt the Ms will spin that they are being good and responsible owners, clearing out the bad. Just what a good and proper person should do.
    If this carries on then after another 154 people have been canned then Sky news will resemble BBC Lite. Well it would be lite. A good start!

  • Comment number 6.

    While David Cameron socialises with the Murdochs and business associates at Christmas, and Jeromey Hunt has meetings with James Murdoch to discuss what should be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (under advisement from OFCOM). The coalition government is either naive in the extreme or arrogant in its own privilege.

    This whole episode calls into question the judgement of Cameron and Osborne and the integrity of all inj charge at NewsCorp. Either the Murdochs have no interest in their organisations other than the millions they take, or they innocently believe what they are told - let the public decide and voice their decision by boycotting all Murdoch products. The King and Keys episode highlights the cavalier attitude of many in the Murdoch stable; most Americans able to think voice concerns about the extreme views expressed on Fox programmes. What more does Mr Hunt need to make a decision on whether NewsCorp should own and control a sizeable chunk of the British media, and what standards can the public expect if they are successful. After all Sky is already dismally low in the standards stakes, and leading competitors to follow suit.

  • Comment number 7.

    So. News of the World decide to dig a little deeper (apparently) and come with this.

    Nothing to do then with Tommy Sherdans intent to appeal against his perjury conviction and launch a legal action against the News of the World, the Metropolitan Police and private detective Glenn Mulcaire over the phone-hacking scandal surrounding the newspaper.

    Read more:

  • Comment number 8.

    Robert Peston is an amazing journalist, he just seems to have a never-ending tide of scoops.

    His peers must be gnashing their teeth in frustration as he delivers yet another bombshell.

    Pesto, journalist of the decade!

  • Comment number 9.

    Why would anyone want to give the impression of making best efforts to clean things up and become acceptable?

  • Comment number 10.

    The Murdochs are world citizens and very successful business people.

    In this case, as with the parallel football sexist saga, presumably to assist their wider business interests, they have acted with ruthless efficiency.

    Public sector managers must look on in wonder at how it is done as they have to jump through considerable hoops before anybody is sacked, even in cases of gross misconduct.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    No. 10 I dont think Edmundson will walk away with nothing. At the very least he will get an easy unfair dismissal or possibly a wrongful dismissal. The public sector do not award lucrative contracts like the one Edmundson is on and anyway I suspect he was suspended on full pay. Can you imagine what wonderful secrets he has to tell about the way Murdoch papers are run. He almost certainly would have been dragged out of his office with a golden chain.

  • Comment number 13.

    JohnConstable . . is that you Robert?

  • Comment number 14.

    So, we now know that more than one 'rogue reporter' was involved, there was further evidence, and it wasn't investigated fully until now - despite what News Int said to the contrary.

    Will the Met now actually consider all the existing evidence that it ahs been sitting on?

  • Comment number 15.

    #10 JohnConstable

    World citizens, but so are a group of Sicilians, who also control vast swathes of public enterprise and have considerable political influence in countries around the world.

    It is naive to think that an oligarch such as Murdoch who has such swinging influence over all of his media empire does not have his finger on the pulse. That the dominions of his empire are not scrutinised and approved. Just look at the right-wing/sexist/racist vitriol that eminates from Fox in America. Wake up, the man is determined to set his own agenda across the globe, and believes he has the politicians in his pocket. From Thatcher through to Blair he has pulled the strings where he sees most gain, from over-running nationality requirements in Britain to changing nationality in America, he is a man set on tyrrany through the press.

    Maybe greater questions should be asked concerning the Metropolitan Police's role in this matter, as considerable evidence appears to be available when demanded by the courts, or when payments made in out of court settlements locked away from scrutiny. How diligent have the police been in investigating a range of highly contentious legal issues from various suspicious deaths in the black community, of participants and innocent passers by in demonstrations, to under cover activities of planted police officials in activist movements. Where does the line of propriety stop, when does the political will, pronounced so avidly before the last election, "to clean up the sleaze" start to kick in?

    The whole barrel of apples is rotting, from reporters of news becoming creaters of scenarios with little regard as to their means, chief executives both private and public demanding remuneration far in excess of their organisation's productivity or profitability, those entrusted with the security of the public evidenced in various anti-social activities, from violence to incitement to criminal acts.

    I know this is a business blog, but from whence did the down grading of morals eminate - "market forces" are the law of power, of monopolies, of exclusion for the benefit of the few. Even the Eton led governments of the 1950s still had some incling of propriety and duty, it appears the modern day equivalent has taken Thatcher's "loads of money" beyond the social norms. Why should anybody be surprised that the Bullingdon Club rulers of this country from the London Assembly to the Cabinet Office all ride gungho over the public with disdain.

  • Comment number 16.

    What kind of investigation - either internal or by the police - doesn't include checking the e-mail records (including those deleted) of the likely suspects? Wouldn't this be the first thing that you'd do?

  • Comment number 17.

    Guido Fawkes is suggesting that this 'major scoop' of Robert Peston's comes from his friend Will Lewis, newly employed as group manager at News International. The suggestion is that an ambitious Mr Lewis wants to undermine Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International. Is this true? Can Robert shed any light on this? If not, it will be interesting to see if Rebekah Brooks's name comes up in any of Robert's future posts, and in what context.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Im amazed at these idiots . It doesnt matter what the subject is MONEY is GOD and it controls ALL governments worldwhile. The rest is purely academic.

  • Comment number 20.

    Is this really business news? I thought this was the business blog rather than a political/gossip one...

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    I would be more reassured of David Cameron's fitness to be our Prime Minister if he HAD discussed this with News International employees when he met them over Christmas. That "fact" that he states he didn't I find rather concerning.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    Unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg there will be more to come I'm sure .
    Stevegrayson former investigative journalist News of the world

  • Comment number 26.

    Is all this surprising ?? RP announced on BBC 10 O'clock News the other night

    illicit information gathering across the world of journalism " is an open secret".

    What I don't understand if it was an "open secret", why reputable journalists didn't bring this to the table earlier ? Any one got any ideas ? .....

    Given the number of times you have pronounced " foul " on other industries performance or ethics. How about coming clean on your own world, or is silence the stance you take when it comes too close to home.

  • Comment number 27.

    Meanwhile the good ship SS Britania sinks!

    Murdoch will be pleased.

  • Comment number 28.

    This is a strategic withdrawl by Murdoch.

    The question for the police is why would you just rely on the material handed over by News International rather than making your own inquiries.

    Lets see where Murdoch is trying to draw the line in the sand. Who is he trying to save?

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    jim hogg @ 13

    I was being unusually enthusiastic there Jim so I can understand your suspicions.

    This journalistic titan, Robert Peston, surely does not need any more 'bigging up' from this quarter and indeed some people find his nasal delivery rather offputting.

    But you must admit that the content is first class.

  • Comment number 31.

    so news international have a meeting with culture secretary about sky take over and what can they do to ficiltate the takeover and suddenly, tapping investigation evidence is passed to the police

  • Comment number 32.

    it's too late, hopefully the damage is done and Vince Cable's war on sky will be won and we will be rid this foul vampire squid murdoch and his monolithic NewsCorp/BSkyB acquisition.

  • Comment number 33.

    The hypocrisy of the owners of the red tops has always been quite breathtaking.

    The key things to say here are:

    - to those taking action about an illegal act carried out against them.... please, please, please don't settle out of court. The biggest service you can do to promote a better society in the UK is to pursue your case right till the end. Settlements out of court that are subject to gagging clauses may make you a bit of money, but they will not help the rest of society!. Those media organisations that feel they can't be judged in the way that they judge others need to be busted.
    - to those who have not yet asked for a judicial review against the Met police, please do so. The role of the Met in this debacle is almost the most unsatisfactory aspect of all. The idea that there might be some kind of 'deal' involving a private exchange of information between the police and the tabloids and various other quid pro quos is extremely unsettling.

  • Comment number 34.

    What I don't understand is why the Metropolitan Police didn't check the emails. It shouldn't take the NotW's own investigation to lead to the police re-examining the evidence.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    6. At 18:31pm on 26th Jan 2011, honestgeraldinho wrote:
    Either the Murdochs have no interest in their organisations other than the millions they take, or they innocently believe what they are told - let the public decide and voice their decision by boycotting all Murdoch products...

    You will find Scousers have been boycotting The Sun toilet paper for over 21 years and have passed this down to the next generation. Personally I don't read any Murdoch papers, have never had a Sky subscription and never will, and all this before these two latest scandals broke. This isn't news to me, just vindication that Murdoch's empire is built on sleaze, lies and propaganda.

  • Comment number 37.

    My favourite memory of Murdoch jnr. is when he used the word "hyperfragmentalisation", or something near, at the RTS lectures at Cambridge a few years back. I seem to remember it drew a "Good Old Days" "Oooh!" from some of the assembled Great and Good, a matter which appeared to go over his head, in fact possibly he understood the reverse intention, as he may have used it again. The Atlantic really is wide.


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