Phone hacking: NoW journalist abandons salary bid

Neville Thurlbeck
Image caption The "for Neville" email has been a significant area of dispute in the phone-hacking scandal

Former News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck has abandoned an attempt to make his former employer continue to pay his salary while he sues the newspaper.

The former journalist is taking News International to an employment tribunal, alleging he was unfairly dismissed for whistleblowing.

A preliminary hearing scheduled for Friday has been cancelled.

Mr Thurlbeck was arrested on suspicion of phone hacking in April.

Mr Thurlbeck, ex-assistant editor Ian Edmondson and James Weatherup - all former News of the World journalists - are understood to have visited police stations separately on Tuesday and been bailed until March 2012.

They were among the first of 16 arrests so far in the Metropolitan Police investigation into allegations of phone hacking.

Mr Edmondson has also lodged tribunal papers, alleging unfair dismissal.

Mr Thurlbeck's case will now begin at a later date, yet to be confirmed, and News International has said it "will vigorously" contest it.

An email apparently intended for Mr Thurlbeck - known as the "for Neville" message - that is said to have indicated News of the World phone hacking went beyond a single rogue reporter, has had a prominent role in the scandal.

The tabloid closed in July after 168 years in print.

The scandal also resulted in the resignations of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and Assistant Commissioner John Yates.

High-profile figures arrested as part of Scotland Yard's Operation Weeting probe include former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and ex-Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson.

Mr Coulson is suing News International after it stopped paying his legal fees.