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Peers to discuss phone hack probe

The News of the World phone-hacking scandal will be discussed in the House of Lords after detectives bailed two senior journalists who were arrested in connection with the reopened inquiry.

Neville Thurlbeck, the Sunday paper's chief reporter, and former head of news Ian Edmondson were released by Scotland Yard detectives on Tuesday night following a day of questioning and must represent themselves to police in September.

The former colleagues had voluntarily attended separate police stations in south-west London, before being arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and unlawfully intercepting voicemail messages.

Conservative former Cabinet minister Lord Fowler will on Wednesday table a question in the Lords about the Government's assessment of the evidence of phone-hacking by newspapers and how it is proposing to respond.

Tuesday's arrests underlined the Metropolitan Police's determination to investigate the scandal thoroughly after criticism that the original inquiry was inadequate.

Thurlbeck, 50, is a veteran reporter who has brought in some of the News of the World's most famous scoops, while Edmondson, 42, was sacked as the paper's assistant editor (news) in January after evidence emerged linking him to phone-tapping.

They were the first people arrested since Scotland Yard reopened its inquiry into claims that staff at the top-selling Sunday newspaper hacked into the answerphone messages of celebrities, politicians and royals.

A committee of MPs heard allegations in 2009 that a transcript of voicemail messages between Professional Footballers' Association boss Gordon Taylor and his legal adviser was prepared for Thurlbeck.

Edmondson's solicitor, Eddie Parladorio, stressed that his client attended the police station voluntarily and has not been charged.

News International, publisher of the News of the World, said it was co-operating fully with the investigation.


From Belfast Telegraph