MPs to launch fresh phone-hacking inquiry

A new inquiry into allegations that public figures had their phones hacked was launched yesterday.

Keith Vaz, Commons Home Affairs Select Committee chairman, said it was acting after John Yates, one of Britain’s top police officers, raised questions over the law as he gave evidence to the committee yesterday.

The inquiry will focus on the police response, the ease of prosecuting such offences, and the treatment of victims after it emerged the New York Times refused to co-operate with British police looking into allegations of phone-hacking made by the newspaper last week.

Vaz said: “The evidence of Assistant Commissioner John Yates today raised a number questions of importance about the law on phone-hacking, the way the police deal with such breaches of the law and the manner in which victims are informed of those breaches.

“I hope that this inquiry will clarify all these important areas.”

The committee’s inquiry will be the second time MPs have investigated the issues surrounding the 2007 convictions of News of the World reporter Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire for illegally intercepting the voicemail messages of Princes William and Harry.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport select committee previously described the “collective amnesia” of News of the World journalists when asked about their recollections of the time.

The Home Affairs select committee will focus on the “definition of the offences relating to unauthorised tapping or hacking in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, and the ease of prosecuting such offences”.

It will also consider “the police response to such offences, especially the treatment of those whose communications have been intercepted” and “what the police are doing to control such offences”.

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