Rebekah Brooks on police payments admission: 'I had no knowledge of specific cases'

Rebekah Brooks (formerly Wade) has clarified her position on payments to police for the benefit of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee investigation into phone-hacking.

In 2003, whilst editor of the News of the World, she memorably told the Commons culture select committee: “We have paid the police for information in the past.”

She was saved from making more confessions by her then deputy editor Andy Coulson who stepped in saying: “We operate within the code and within the law and if there is a clear public interest then we will. The same holds for private detectives, subterfuge, a video bag – whatever you want to talk about.”

Now she has responded to a request from MPs for clarification on this point saying:

Thank you for your letter dated 29 March 2011 and for giving me the opportunity to clarify comments I made towards the end of my appearance before the Culture Media and Sports Select Committee in March 2003.

“As can be seen from the transcript, I was responding to a specific line of questioning on how newspapers get information. My intention was simply to comment generally on the widely-held belief that payments had been made in the past to police officers.

“If, in doing so, I gave the impression that I had knowledge of any specific cases, I can assure you that this was not my intention.”

Back in 2003, her then boss Les Hinton explained her confession away by saying: “I am chairman of News International and I have no reason to believe that there have ever been payments. I have spoken to Rebekah. She tells me she has not authorised payments to policemen. My understanding was that she said there had been payments made in the past.”

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