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Ian Paisley Jnr in phone hacking probe

Ian Paisley Jnr may have had his phoned hacked by News of the World reporters, it has been claimed.

It is understood police are investigating whether the DUP MP for North Antrim had his mobile calls intercepted while working as an MLA at Stormont in 2007.

Last night Mr Paisley was not available for comment.

And the Metropolitan Police also declined to disclose the |identity of victims involved in the ongoing high-profile probe.

Yesterday, News of the World publisher News International sought to draw a line under the phone hacking scandal by apologising and admitting liability in a number of cases.

The company said it had instructed lawyers to set up a compensation scheme to deal with “justifiable claims” and said “past behaviour” at the newspaper was “a matter of genuine regret”.

The dramatic announcement came after a number of well-known figures took High Court action over allegations of phone-hacking, including actresses Leslie Ash and Sienna Miller.

News International did not identify which cases it was admitting liability in but said the move applied to allegations of voicemail hacking at the News of the World from 2004 to 2006.

Solicitor Mark Lewis said the final compensation bill could easily run into millions of pounds.

In a statement, the company said: “News International has decided to approach some civil litigants with an unreserved apology and an admission of liability in cases meeting specific criteria.

“We have also asked our lawyers to establish a compensation scheme with a view to dealing with justifiable claims fairly and efficiently.”

But the company said it would continue to contest cases that it believed were without merit. The statement went on: “That said, past behaviour at the News of the World in relation to voicemail interception is a matter of genuine regret.”

Mr Lewis, of Taylor Hampton solicitors, called the announcement a “step in the right direction”.

He said the victims now wanted to know the truth about what happened, a full apology and an undertaking from the newspaper “never to do it again”.

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