Friday News Review

New evidence, new investigation?

It is a close ranks strategy that has – for the moment – failed. Desperate to protect its reputation, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has spent four years arguing that any phone hacking at the News of the World was confined to the former royal editor Clive Goodman – and an out-of-control private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire. Only now has it to be forced to admit Ian Edmondson, the tabloid’s senior news executive, may have a case to answer. In suspending Edmondson after allegations that he ordered Mulcaire’s targeting of Sienna Miller, News Corp is hoping to pull off a high wire act. The publisher wants to gain credit for taking action while at the same time hoping that Edmondson does not have any awkward information to reveal, particularly about Andy Coulson, his former editor and now David Cameron spin-doctor. Many believe the practice of phone hacking was widespread across tabloid’s newspapers from the moment mobile phone voicemail was invented. – The Guardian

Police should investigate new accusations that a senior executive on the News of the World was involved in phone-hacking when the paper was edited by Andy Coulson, now David Cameron’s media chief, the Labour Party said on Thursday. The paper suspended assistant editor Ian Edmondson on Wednesday after a “serious allegation” was made about his professional conduct. Media reports said the suspension related to possible eavesdropping on the voicemail messages of actress Sienna Miller in 2005, raising fresh questions about the ethical practices of some of the paper’s journalists. Labour’s Home Affairs spokesman, Ed Balls, said the police had to re-examine whether illegal snooping took place and whether it had been sanctioned by more senior staff including Coulson. “I think the police need to put all the resources necessary into these new investigations which are happening because of disclosure by individuals who are bringing court cases,” Balls told BBC Radio. “As more information comes out it’s getting closer and closer to Mr Coulson,” he said. – Reuters

As MPs and victims of these crimes, we now ask you publicly: please would you answer these simple questions of fact? As the edifice of lies which has been allowed to shield these sordid events for so long begins truly to crumble, there will be as few places for the complicit to hide as for the criminal. Now is the time for you to establish the panel and set up a real investigation that you promised to consider. That way, there is the slight possibility that the non-metropolitan police and the judicial system may be able to emerge from the ruins of this democratic disaster with at least a scintilla of credibility. – Tom Watson, Labour Uncut

Police cuts risk crime rise

Criminals are less likely to get caught as police numbers are cut over the next few years, a think tank has warned. Civitas said falls in crime could be halted or reversed after this year’s 6% real terms cut to the national funding grant and 20% cut up to 2015. The report called 2011: The start of a great decade for criminals? said “a nation with fewer police is more likely to have a higher crime rate”. Ministers said deployment, not the size of a force, was what mattered. The report carried a comparison of the number of police officers and the number of recorded offences per 100,000 people in European countries showing that reducing police numbers could lead to higher crime rates. – BBC

The public will be at greater risk with an expected fall in officer numbers during the Government’s austerity drive, according to a study by Civitas. Police forces across the country are facing budget cuts of up to 20 per cent over the next four years which is likely to result in thousands of fewer officers and staff. The Home Office has insisted crime can still be reduce while police officer number decline and has pointed to examples around the world including New York. But an analysis of other countries by Civitas suggests crime is higher where there is fewer police. A comparison of the number of police officers and the number of recorded offences per 100,000 people in European countries showed “a nation with fewer police is more likely to have a higher crime rate”, it said. – Telegraph

Cuts to quangos “botched”

The Coalition’s “bonfire of the quangos” will not necessarily deliver big savings, according to the Public Administration Committee. The chair of the influential group Bernard Jenkin said: “The whole process was rushed and poorly handled and should have been thought through a lot more.” The Government said in October it would scrap 192 bodies, including the Health Protection Agency, the UK Film Council and the Commission for Rural Communities. – PoliticsHome

Ministers had ‘failed to recognise the realities of the modern world’ and missed an opportunity to put the coalition’s ‘Big Society’ agenda into action by handing more powers to charity, the MPs said. The report found that the series of tests set out by ministers to judge the future of bodies against were ‘hopelessly unclear’ and had not been applied consistently. Legislation implementing the cull, meanwhile, was ‘badly drafted’, the MPs concluded. Former Tory minister Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the committee, said: ‘The whole process was rushed and poorly handled and should have been thought through a lot more. – The Daily Mail

One Response to “Friday News Review”

  1. Arthur Fowler says:

    So a news review of a day when a former Labour MP is locked up for fraud that entirely fails to mention it. Hopefully there will be a few more MPs to follow Chaytor particularly that scumbag McShane.

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