The public inquiry into UK press standards triggered by the News of the World phone-hacking scandal will also look into the behaviour of social media and broadcasters, Prime Minister David Cameron announced today.
Cameron also confirmed the remit of the inquiry will go beyond the Metropolitan Police and look at other police forces’ relationships with the media.
Cameron was speaking at an emergency debate on phone-hacking in the House of Common following the decision to recall Parliament, where he also unveiled the line up of the six-strong panel that will support Lord Justice Leveson. They are:
- Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti,
- former police chief Sir Paul Scott-Lee
- Former Ofcom director David Currie
- Channel 4 political editor Elinor Goodman
- former Daily Telegraph political editor George Jones
- Former Financial Times chairman Sir David Bell.
‘Over the past two weeks a torrent of revelations and allegations has engulfed some of the country’s most important institutions”, Cameron said.
‘The public want us to work together to sort this problem out because until we do so it will not be possible to get back to the issues we care about.”
Commenting on the controversy surrounding his appointment of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, Cameron said he had an ‘old fashioned view about innocent until proven guilty”.
If Coulson was lying when he claimed he had no knowledge of phone-hacking during his time at the NoW, then he would also have lied to the police, select committees and the courts, Cameron said.
If it emerged that Coulson had lied then he would issue a ‘profound apology”. Cameron went on to claim that, in hindsight, he regretted employing Coulson.
‘I would not have offered him a job and I expect he would not have accepted,’he said.
‘We live and we learn – and believe me, I have learnt,’he added.
Opposition leader Ed Miliband claimed the appointment of Coulson created a ‘tragic conflict of loyalty’and described it as a ‘catastrophic error of judgement”.
The Prime Minister also claimed that the Conservative Party had examined its accounts and found that no payments were ever made to Neil Wallis – the former NoW deputy editor arrested for phone hacking – or his PR company Chamy Media.