No 10 spin doctor Andy Coulson facing fresh inquiry over phone-tap claims
Prime Minister David Cameron's director of communications, Andy Coulson, faces a fresh Parliamentary inquiry following the latest allegations into the illegal phone-tapping at the News of the World under his editorship.
The Home Affairs Select Committee will meet today and question the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates about Scotland Yard's handling of the investigation. MPs want to know why some victims were not warned their phones were being tapped by Rupert Murdoch's paper.
The committee is expected to launch a new inquiry into the police handling of the case, which yesterday was the subject of|further revelations:
- Mr Coulson, the Conservative Party's most senior spin doctor, agreed to meet detectives to|discuss developments in the case.
- Tony Blair had contacted the Met fearing that his phone had been tapped.
- The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, warned the Met that there was evidence his phone had been hacked.
- The Prime Minister's spokesman repeatedly ducked giving a direct answer when asked whether David Cameron believed that Andy Coulson knew nothing about phone hacking at the News of the World.
- The Home Secretary, Theresa May, was forced to make an urgent statement on the affair in Parliament.
Should the Home Affairs Committee agree to investigate, it will be the second select committee inquiry into the scandal. Last year Mr Coulson told the Media Committee that he did not “condone or use” phone hacking techniques during his tenure as editor of Britain's biggest-selling newspaper. But the committee condemned the newspaper executives' “collective amnesia” and “deliberate obfuscation”.
Fresh revelations published in The New York Times claimed that the practice which saw a reporter, Clive Goodman, and Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator employed by New International, jailed was more widespread.
It is also claimed that|detectives at Scotland Yard failed to properly investigate the alleged pervasiveness of the practice and that many potential victims were not alerted that their mobile voicemails may have been hacked.
Last night a source said it was probable that the Home Affairs Committee would investigate. “This is a very important issue and it is different to what the Culture Committee inquiry investigated,” they said. “These are allegations about the potential phone-tapping of many MPs. It is something the Home Affairs Committee will want to look at.”