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Guardian: Biography claims David Cameron texted Rebekah Brooks before she quit NI

May 9th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

Copyright Lewis Whyld/PA

The Guardian has reported today that an updated biography of the prime minister claims David Cameron texted Rebekah Brooks before she quit as News International’s chief executive.

An article on the Guardian‘s website reports that Cameron allegedly texted Brooks “to tell her to keep her head up” days before she resigned from News International.

It has also emerged that he agreed to meet her at a point-to-point horse race so long as they were not seen together, and that he also pressed the Metropolitan police to review the Madeleine McCann case in May last year following pressure from Brooks.

The prime minister then sent an intermediary to Brooks to explain why contacts had to be brought to an abrupt halt after she resigned. The authors say the gist of that message was: “Sorry I couldn’t have been as loyal to you as you have been to me, but Ed Miliband had me on the run.”

The revelations were made in the updated version of Cameron: Practically a Conservative by Francis Elliot and James Hanning. Brooks is due to appear before the Leveson inquiry on Friday.

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Standard: Metropolitan police loaned horse to Rebekah Brooks

February 28th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

Another development in the News International/Metropolitan police story has emerged today – with the Evening Standard reporting that the Metropolitan police loaned Rebekah Brooks a police horse for two years.

The paper says it raises questions about the force’s links with Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspaper empire. A friend told the paper: “Rebekah acted as a foster carer for the horse. Anybody can agree to do this with the Met if they have the land and facilities to pay for its upkeep.”

The Metropolitan police said in a statement:

“When a police horse reaches the end of its working life, Mounted Branch officers find it a suitable retirement home.

Whilst responsibility for feeding the animal and paying vet bills passes to the person entrusted to its care at its new home, the horse remains the property of the Metropolitan Police Service.

Retired police horses are not sold on and can be returned to the care of the MPS at any time.

In 2008 a retired MPS horse was loaned to Rebekah Brooks. The horse was subsequently re-housed with a police officer in 2010.”

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#jpod in depth: Reporting the phone hacking scandal

July 22nd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Legal, Newspapers, Podcast

This week #jpod looks at the way the phone-hacking scandal has been reported in recent weeks and the legal restrictions now in play, given recent arrests by police investigating allegations of wrongdoing.

On Wednesday, the Daily Mail reported figures from an Ipsos Mori poll which claimed just six per cent of voters were concerned about phone hacking, while Unicef called on the press to move the news agenda on. However, BBC director general Mark Thompson said today (22 July) the broadcaster’s research showed a different story.

In this podcast we speak to director of the Media Standards Trust, Martin Moore, about what the trust’s research has shown about the volume of reporting on the topic, and why he thinks the scandal has, at times, dominated the news agenda over other reports.

We also speak to media law consultant David Banks about his thoughts on the media coverage so far and the legal restrictions facing the media as cases become active.

You can sign up to our iTunes podcast feed for future audio.

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Phone hacking: Harbottle & Lewis authorised to respond to MPs and police questions

News Corporation has confirmed that law firm Harbottle & Lewis has been authorised to respond to questions from the Metropolitan police and select committees on the phone-hacking case.

The firm was featured in a number of questions from MPs during the culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday, when News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch, his son James and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks were asked about a file of emails, said to form part of the Harbottle & Lewis review, and the contents of which were said by Brooks to “put a new light” on information in the case later on.

Giving evidence, James Murdoch, chairman of News International, said the company engaged a law firm to review a number of emails and that it offered its opinion on those.

What I do know is that the company rested on that, rested on the fact that the police told us that there was no new evidence and no reason for a new investigation, and rested on the opinion of the PCC that there was no new information and no reason to carry it further.

It was not until new evidence emerged from the civil litigations that were going on that the company immediately went to the police, restarted this, and the company has done the right thing in that respect.

Yesterday (20 July) the law firm said it was restricted from responding to some of the comments because of client confidentiality, but News Corporation’s management and standards committee (MSC) has since announced that News International has decided to authorise the law firm to answer questions from the Metropolitan police and select committees.

The MSC is authorised to co-operate fully with all relevant investigations and inquiries in the News of the World phone hacking case, police payments and all other related issues across News International, as well as conducting its own inquiries where appropriate

According to a report by the Financial Times the firm is now reviewing what can be said.

While lawmakers questioned why the e-mails Harbottle reviewed were not handed to police, the solicitors’ regulatory code says that a duty to report criminality can be overridden by client confidentiality, except where lawyers suspect that clients may go on to cause violent crime.

The law firm has not responded to a request for comment by Journalism.co.uk.

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Select committees: Reaction to appearances by police, the Murdochs and Brooks

July 20th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Politics

The focus on Twitter seemed to be entirely on the appearance of Murdoch and son, Rebekah Brooks and two senior Metropolitan police officers at two parliament select committees yesterday (19 July).

Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates appeared before the home affairs select committee, before Rupert and James Murdoch – and then Rebekah Brooks – came before the culture, media and sport committee.

Below is a Storify to show some of the reaction on Twitter to MPs’ questions and the responses MPs received.


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Phone hacking: Rebekah Brooks’ lawyer’s statement

Rebekah Brooks’ laywer has apparently released a statement this afternoon claiming she is ‘not guilty of any criminal offence’.

The statement follows Brooks’ arrest yesterday, as part of the Metropolitan Police investigations into phone hacking and corruption.

The position of Rebekah Brooks can be simply stated. She is not guilty of any criminal offence. The position of the Metropolitan Police is less easy to understand. Despite arresting her yesterday and conducting an interview process lasting nine hours, they put no allegations to her, and showed her no documents connecting her with any crime.

They will in due course have to give an account of their actions, and in particular their decision to arrest her, with the enormous reputational damage that this has involved.

In the meantime,  Mrs Brooks has an appointment with the culture, media and sport select committee tomorrow. She remains willing to attend and to answer questions. It is a matter for Parliament to decide what issues to put to her and whether her appointment should place at a later date.

(Hat-tip to Channel 4 News’ home affairs producer Marcus Edward.)

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Letters in full from News International bosses to select committee

Here are the responses given by Rebekah Brooks, James Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch to chairman of the culture, media and sport committee John Whittingdale, who invited them to give evidence next week on phone hacking.

Brooks has accepted an invitation to appear before the committee on Tuesday.

Rebekah Brooks:

Dear John,

Thank you for your letter of 12 July, on behalf of the committee, inviting me to give evidence to you on 19 July.

I am writing to confirm that I am available to appear before the committee on that date and welcome the opportunity to do so.

As you will be aware, the Metropolitan police investigation into illegal voicemail interception continues and we are fully cooperating with that. Aspects of the work to which your committee may wish to refer are likely to be relevant to that investigation. Indeed, the police have already asked us specifically to provide information about those matters.

I understand that various select committees have approached the police over time in relation to this and other cases. The police’s position has been to co-operate where this did not directly impact on the investigation in question. In those cases where it did potentially impact, the police have historically declined to comment at that stage. Our understanding is that this approach has not been challenged. Given that we are in the midst of an investigation, and we do not want to prejudice it, I hope you will understand why we feel it would not be appropriate to respond to such questions at present in order to be consistent with [the] police’s approach, and that as a result this may prevent me from discussing these matters in detail.

I hope this is of help, and look forward to hearing from you to discuss exact timings and other details.

Yours sincerely,
Rebekah Brooks

Rupert Murdoch:

Dear John,

Thank you for your letter of 12 July, on behalf of the committee, inviting me to give evidence to you on 19 July.

Unfortunately, I am not available to attend the session you have planned next Tuesday. However, I am fully prepared to give evidence to the forthcoming judge-led public inquiry and I will be taking steps to notify those conducting the inquiry of my willingness to do so. Having done this, I would be happy to discuss with you how best to give evidence to your committee.

I hope this is of help.

Yours sincerely,
Rupert Murdoch

James Murdoch:

Dear John

Thank you for your letter of 12 July, on behalf of the committee, inviting me to give evidence to you on 19 July.

Unfortunately I am not available to attend the session you have planned next Tuesday.

However, I would be pleased to give evidence to your committee on either the 10 or 11 August. Naturally, if neither of these proves suitable I would be willing to consider any alternative dates you suggest.

I hope this is of help to the committee.

Yours sincerely,
James Murdoch

Given the responses from Rupert and James Murdoch the committee decided it will issue summons for them to appear on Tuesday. It is currently unclear what steps could and would be taken if they are declined.

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Timeline: Phone hacking and the end of the News of the World

An interactive timeline, starting in March 2003 when Rebekah Brooks (then Wade) speaks about paying police for stories to a committee of MPs.

It features an hour by hour account of events this week and includes the Guardian revealing how Milly Dowler’s phone was hacked, further allegations of cases, the pulling out of advertisers, yesterday’s announcement that the News of the World is to close and today’s arrests.

Click and drag the timeline to see how the phone hacking scandal unravelled and click on the + signs to expand details:

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Rebekah Brooks ‘won’t resign’ over Milly Dowler phone-hacking claims

Rebekah Brooks “is not planning to resign” as chief executive of News International, according to BBC business editor Robert Peston.

Writing on his blog today, Peston cites a News International executive as having told him that Rupert Murdoch is backing Brooks “100%” over alleged interceptions of Milly Dowler’s voicemail by the News of the World.

She remains in charge of the process of assisting the police in their enquiries, known as Operation Weeting, to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against those journalists implicated in hacking mobile phones and other invasions of individuals’ right to privacy.

“She is committed to find out the truth of what happened here and leading the company through this difficult time” said one of her colleagues.

“Her job is to see this through”.

An update on the post at 9:24 elaborates on the Prime Minister’s reaction to the news:

There is of course an uncomfortable feedback loop from the latest disclosures of alleged hacking to the prime minister – in that the deputy editor of the News of the World in 2002 was Andy Coulson, who became editor of the News of the World in 2003, and who also served as Mr Cameron’s communications director until he resigned in January.

 

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Greenslade: Wapping executive changes herald move to seven-day operation

June 29th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick, Newspapers

News International announced yesterday in a release that it was creating a “managing editor structure” at its four newspapers.

Roy Greenslade has analysed the Brooksspeak, which indicates that a move to integrate the daily and Sunday titles could be afoot.

See more details in the full post at this link.

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