PM defends police on hacking probe

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Tom Watson MP has called for an independent investigation into the Metropolitan Police's handling of allegations of phone hacking

David Cameron has defended the Metropolitan Police over its phone hacking inquiry after a Labour MP called for another force to take over the investigation.

The Prime Minister said it was not “necessarily fair” to say the Met had not been active on the issue.

At Commons question time, former minister Tom Watson said: “The former investigating officer is now on the payroll of News International. Three senior editors are now identified with phone hacking.

“Isn’t it time that another police force took over the inquiry? You have the status to make it happen, Prime Minister. What are you afraid of?”

Mr Cameron replied: “Let me be absolutely clear – phone hacking is wrong. Phone hacking is illegal.

“I think it’s quite right that the Director of Public Prosecutions (Keir Starmer) is reviewing all of the evidence and they should follow the evidence wherever it leads.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to say that the police have not been active – after all, there have been prosecutions, convictions and indeed imprisonments. But the law is quite clear – prosecuting authorities should follow it wherever it leads.”

Mr Starmer this week announced that the Crown Prosecution Service will expand its review of evidence gathered during the phone hacking inquiry to include fresh claims swirling around the scandal.

He said any evidence from “recent or new substantive allegations” will be assessed by a senior barrister as part of an ongoing inquiry into material already held by Scotland Yard.

The Met is under intense pressure to reopen its investigation following the departure of Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson.

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