Thursday News Review

More evidence to come after gagging order lifted

The full extent of the alleged cover-up at the News of the World could be disclosed after News International bowed to pressure last night and lifted a gagging order it had imposed on its lawyers. In the latest development in the phone hacking scandal, Rupert Murdoch’s company agreed to release details of its dealings with Harbottle & Lewis, the lawyers who for four years held company emails containing details of wrongdoing at the Sunday tabloid. Documents held by Harbottle & Lewis, who act for the Royal family, have been described as the “smoking gun” that could prove that senior figures in Mr Murdoch’s empire were aware of hacking but tried to cover it up. Despite protests from MPs and pressure from the law firm, News International had refused to release Harbottle & Lewis from legal obligations of confidentiality, meaning that the lawyers could not co-operate fully with police and parliamentary inquiries. Last night the company relented and said it would allow the lawyers to disclose at least some of the information they hold to detectives and MPs. While the move could help to solve the mystery of the company’s response to the scandal, it remained unclear how much information would be disclosed, and whether it would be put in the public domain. – the Telegraph

A law firm blamed by Rupert Murdoch for failing to raise the alarm over evidence of police bribes at News International was last night given the go-ahead to put its side of events to police and MPs. Harbottle & Lewis, who also represent the Queen, was said to be furious at the allegations of wrongdoing made against it by the Murdochs but unable to explain why it did not hand over files to the police due to client-lawyer confidentiality. News Corp’s management and standards committee announced after 7pm yesterday, on a day when Parliament went into recess, that its British arm, News International, had given the law firm permission to answer questions from Scotland Yard and parliamentary committees. – the Independent

No “inappropriate” conversations

Number 10 has again insisted that David Cameron had no inappropriate talks over the BSkyB takeover. Labour have attempted to seize on comments by Jeremy Hunt that the Prime Minister had “conversations” about the deal. Mr Hunt was talking about discussions in general rather than conversations with News International executives, his aides later insisted. Labour’s Ivan Lewis said Mr Cameron had previously “refused point blank” to confirm conversations took place and that the Prime Minister “now has far more questions to answer”. – PoliticsHome

Hacking cops increased

The police team investigating phone hacking has been boosted from 45 to 60 officers, Scotland Yard has said. Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers said the move came after a “significant increase in the workload” over the past fortnight. Meanwhile, the investigation into alleged misconduct by newspapers may be spreading beyond News International. Police have asked for files of an earlier inquiry into the use of private investigators, the BBC has learned. According to BBC Radio 4’s The Report, the files from Operation Motorman, which was run by the Information Commissioners Office in 2003, were requested three months ago. They contain 4,000 requests from 300 journalists and 31 publications for confidential information from a private investigator, which in many cases had been obtained illegally. – the BBC

Balls slams Osborne

Deeper fiscal co-ordination among eurozone members is the only way to avert a “calamitous debt crisis”, Ed Balls said on Wednesday as he accused chancellor George Osborne of a “failure of leadership” before a crunch Brussels summit. Balls, Labour’s shadow treasury spokesman, warned that the UK government’s hands-off stance on Europe meant one of the top three economies in the EU was in effect abdicating responsibility for resolving a crisis that could engulf the British economy. He backed the creation of eurobonds to fund a bailout package that would also involve eurozone countries agreeing greater co-ordination and guarantees to protect member states’ debt mountains. He urged the prime minister, David Cameron, and Osborne to join leaders in Brussels to hammer out a deal. “There isn’t any possibility of getting through this crisis without at least a temporary eurozone-wide guarantee based on government-issued debt from countries at risk from contagion. Without that support the markets are going to continue to lose confidence. We need to face up to today’s problems. When you see Italian and Spanish bond spreads you can see the situation is incredibly dangerous,” he said. – the Guardian

2 Responses to “Thursday News Review”

  1. Mike says:

    Interesting week. Can’t wait for the verdict on the phone hacking. Getting interesting by the day.

  2. dong says:

    About phone hacking, it would dig more and discover more soon. This is good to correct the wrongs.

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