Phone hacking rocks Scotland Yard, News Corp. – and Cameron?
Phone hacking fallout leads to multiple resignations. But can the phone hacking scandal reach Prime Minister David Cameron's government?
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Cameron insisted his Conservative-led government had "taken very decisive action" by setting up a judge-led inquiry into the wrongdoing at the now-defunct Murdoch tabloid News of the World and into the overall relations between British politicians, the media and police.Skip to next paragraph
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"We have helped to ensure a large and properly resourced police investigation that can get to the bottom of what happened, and wrongdoing, and we have pretty much demonstrated complete transparency in terms of media contact," Cameron said.
Opposition leader Ed Miliband, however, said Cameron needed to answer "a whole series of questions" about his relationships with Brooks, James Murdoch and Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor whom Cameron later hired as his communications chief. Coulson resigned from that post in January was arrested earlier this month in the scandal.
"At the moment, he seems unable to provide the leadership the country needs," Miliband said of Cameron.
Rupert Murdoch, too, faces a major test Tuesday in his bid to tame a scandal that has already destroyed the News of the World, cost the jobs of Brooks and Wall Street Journal publisher Les Hinton and sunk the media baron's dream of taking full control of a lucrative satellite broadcaster, British Sky Broadcasting.
At the televised hearing, politicians will seek more details about the scale of criminality at the News of the World. The Murdochs will try to avoid incriminating themselves or doing more harm to their business without misleading Parliament, which is a crime.
The showdown comes as James Murdoch — chairman of BSkyB and chief executive of his father's European and Asian operations — appears increasingly isolated following the departure of Brooks, a possible candidate for arrest or resignation.
James Murdoch did not directly oversee the News of the World, but he approved payments to some of the paper's most prominent hacking victims, including 700,000 pounds ($1.1 million) to Professional Footballers' Association chief Gordon Taylor.
James Murdoch said last week that he "did not have a complete picture" when he approved the payouts.
Murdoch is eager to stop the crisis from spreading to the United States, where many of his most lucrative assets — including the Fox TV network, 20th Century Fox film studio, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post — are based.
News Corp. on Monday appointed commercial lawyer Anthony Grabiner to run its Management and Standards Committee, which will deal with the phone hacking scandal. It said the committee will cooperate with all investigations on hacking and alleged police payments, and carry out its own inquiries.