Wednesday, July 20, 2011

UK Commons to grill PM over hacking

Source: Press TV

British parliament will grill Prime Minister David Cameron today over his decision to employ a former News of the World editor involved in a phone-hacking scandal.

The scandal, which first centered Rupert Murdoch's News Corp global media empire, is now closing in on No. 10 Downing Street and is fuelling opposition attacks on Cameron's judgement.

It has had the potential to rock Britain's establishment with the resignation of two top policemen including the Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and assistant commissioner John Yates and the forced resignations of senior executives at the company including Rebekah Brooks, the chairman of the tabloid.

Possibly, David Cameron came to the conclusion that if he didn't come and give a statement to the House on Wednesday, probably the opposition would have demanded that Parliament be recalled.

Last night, the Prime Minister was dragged deeper into the phone-hacking saga after it emerged that a key suspect gave media advice to his office in the run-up to the May 2010 general election.

Ex-News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis, who was arrested last week, acted as an informal adviser to Cameron's former communications chief Andy Coulson, said a Conservative Party spokesman.

“It has been drawn to our attention that he may have provided Andy Coulson with some informal advice on a voluntary basis before the election”, said the spokesman.

“We can confirm that apart from Andy Coulson, neither David Cameron nor any senior member of the campaign team were aware of this until this week”, he said.

In a separate twist, it also emerged that one of Cameron's most senior officials stopped Scotland Yard from briefing the Prime Minister on the phone-hacking scandal.

MPs heard yesterday how Ed Llewellyn, Cameron's chief of staff, rejected an offer by outgoing assistant commissioner John Yates to talk to Cameron after the New York Times published an article alleging that Coulson 'actively encouraged' phone hacking while he was editor of the News of the World.

Llewellyn, an old school friend of Cameron and one of his most trusted advisers, flatly rejected the offer on the grounds that it was 'inappropriate' and adding that he 'would be grateful if it were not raised please'.

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