Yard faces hacking probe criticism


Lord Prescott called for a judicial review into the Met's handling of phone hacking allegations

Scotland Yard is facing mounting criticism of its handling of allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World.

Metropolitan Police detectives have launched a fresh inquiry into the controversy after receiving “significant new information” from the newspaper.

But former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott called for a judicial review into the Met’s handling of the case so far.

“I just don’t trust the Metropolitan Police to conduct a proper inquiry,” he said. “I can’t trust them to carry out a proper inquiry and that’s why I asked the courts for a judicial review on the Metropolitan Police and the way they’ve conducted investigations.”

Alastair Campbell, who was Tony Blair’s director of communications in Downing Street, also criticised the police.

Speaking on BBC Two’s Newsnight, he said: “Why was none of this done before, either by the newspaper group or by the police? Both of them I think still have a lot of things to answer. I’m very pro-police. I don’t like sitting here attacking the police, but their investigation so far has been absolutely woeful, and it’s absolutely right another set of officers comes in and looks at this.”

Scotland Yard announced on Wednesday that detectives had received a dossier of evidence about suspicious activities at the News of the World in 2005 and 2006, and that a new team would carry out the inquiry.

The decision was made after the newspaper handed over material gathered during an internal investigation into its assistant editor (news) Ian Edmondson. The newspaper, whose owner Rupert Murdoch was in London this week, said Mr Edmondson was sacked as a result of the investigation.

Mr Edmondson was suspended from duty in December after he was linked to the scandal in documents relating to legal action by actress Sienna Miller lodged at the High Court.

The new inquiry is one of the most significant developments in the controversy since the News of the World’s royal editor was imprisoned in 2007. Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed at the Old Bailey after they admitted intercepting messages.

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