New on the record News of the World phone-hack source: “Everybody was doing it”

Another day of revelations and developments around News of the World/Met Police/Andy Coulson-phonehackgate.

The Guardian’s Nick Davies has a new on-the-record source saying phone-hacking was widespread at the News of the World .

Former deputy features editor at the paper, Paul McMullan, is now apparently running a pub in Dover.

He told Davies: “Most reporters did it themselves, sitting at their desk. It was something that people would do when they were bored sitting outside somebody’s house. I don’t think at the time senior editors at the paper thought it was an issue. Everybody was doing it.

“Coulson would certainly be well aware that the practice was pretty widespread. He is conceivably telling the truth when he says he didn’t specifically know every time a reporter would do it.”

Davies also quotes a former News of the World desk editor, who apparently worked under Coulson, who says: “The hacking was so routine that people didn’t realise they were doing anything wrong. They were just doing what was expected of them. People were obsessed with getting celebs’ phone numbers. There were senior people who were really scared when the Mulcaire story came out. Everyone was surprised that Clive Goodman was the only one who went down.”

In another new development, it emerged last night that the House of Commons will hold a vote on Thursday on whether the privileges and standards committee should open an inquiry into the affair.

The FT reports that this would be a big deal, because it is the only parliamentary committee with the power to legally force witnesses to testify.

This is on top of news yesterday that the Commons home affairs committee is to launch its own inquiry into the matter.

The Independent today reports that the Met police are set to interview Greg Miskiw, he’s the former News of the World executive named on a contract which agreed to pay private investigator Glenn Mulcaire £7,000 for the delivery of a story.

Meanwhile the pressure looks set to continue to pile on to Downing Street communications boss Coulson after Commons speaker John Bercow granted an emergency debate into the phone hacking affair which will be held today.

So just to recap, that’s two new Commons inquires and a debate – on top of the House of Commons culture, media and sport committee inquiry last year.

Here Press Gazette has rounded up all its coverage to date on this ever-more-complicated tale.

Today’s print edition of the Independent has a  handy infographic which makes the whole thing a bit easier to follow and is well worth picking up.

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