News International executives faced more damaging allegations in the House of Commons this afternoon, including claims the News of the World targeted phones connected to Madeleine McCann and murdered teen Danielle Jones.
Labour MP Chris Bryant also alleged the NoW had targeted police officers investigating the murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan – whose trial collapsed after 18 months of legal arguments earlier this year – and officers ‘who were at various times in charge of investigations into the NoW itself”.
Bryant accused the newspaper of lacking ‘decency and shared humanity’and suffering from a ‘complete moral failure”.
The former minister said it was no excuse for chief executive Rebekah Brooks to claim she ‘didn’t know what was going on’– and that if a Government minister was in a similarly beleaguered position she would be ‘demanding their head on a plate”.
‘I know that the News of the World is hanging [former editor] Andy Coulson out to dry but the buck has to stop at the top,’said Bryant, speaking at a debate on phone-hacking called after allegations the newspaper targeted the phones of murdered teenager Milly Dowler and victims of the 7 July bombings.
His Labour colleague Yvetter Cooper described the allegations as ‘shameful, sickening and cruel’and called for a new system of press regulation, arguing that ‘current arrangements clearly haven’t delivered in this case”.
She also said the current Met investigation – Operation Weeting – needed to be ‘forensic and furious in the pursuit of truth”, before arguing Prime Minister David Cameron should have no further involvement in any phone hacking inquiries because of his relationship with former communications chief Coulson.
Earlier in the day Prime Minister David Cameron said a public inquiry –or inquiries –would be held into the behaviour of the media and into the first Met Police phone-hacking investigation. Attorney General Dominic Grieve said the Government would now consider the terms of reference and whether to hold one inquiry or two.
Bryant said the inquiry should get underway as soon as possible. ‘My hope is that people who have committed criminality at the News of the World end up going to prison,’he told the Commons.
‘The last thing I would want is for this debate to interfere with a criminal investigation.. but I believe it is perfectly possible to hold a public inquiry at the same time as a police investigation. In fact, I think it is essential that the investigation is supplemented by an inquiry.’