PCC director: 'No new evidence of phone-tapping'

Director of the Press Complaints Commission Tim Toulmin today told MPs there was no indication that journalists are still involved in phone-tapping.

Toulmin was giving evidence to the Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport Committee, in the wake of claims that the News of the World paid out £1 million in compensation after a number of reporters targeted “thousands” of public figures.

Asked whether there was any evidence that phone tapping was still happening in the industry, he replied: “No, not yet. If there is any out there and anyone wants to bring any evidence before us then of course, we will look at it right away.

“But that is a very pertinent point. We do not have that evidence yet, and of course we can only act when that evidence has been brought to our attention.”

Toulmin said the PCC was looking at whether it had been “misled” by the News of the World during a previous inquiry into the row.

“The question for us now is that, in their submission to us two years ago, were we misled into believing that it was more of a contained problem than it was,” he added.

However, he stressed that much of the material published by the Guardian last week had already been in the public domain.

The News of the World’s former royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, and a private detective were jailed in 2007 after accessing voice messages left for members of the royal family and celebrities.

Andy Coulson also quit as editor after admitting ultimate responsibility for the tapping – although he denied any knowledge of what had been going on. He is now Conservative leader David Cameron’s key communications aide.

The Guardian has claimed it knows the names of other reporters at the newspaper who were involved in phone tapping.

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