The parents of murdered Soham girls Holly Wells and
Jessica Chapman have been
Cambridgeshire Police confirmed that Met detectives visited
the parents of the murdered girls
Iain Watson Political
tougher press regulation are nothing new.
80s the Tory minister David Mellor warned some editors were
"drinking in the last chance saloon".
orders still haven't been called.
ministers opted for a system of self-regulation by the
general rule that oppositions urge tighter regulation but
fail to implement it in government.
newspaper sales are in decline, politicians still seek their
broadcasters, the press are free to be politically partial
and the Murdoch press control around a third of the market.
endorsed Labour in 1997 - ex-Downing Street insider Lance
Price has said no big decision was taken without considering
Rupert Murdoch's likely reaction.
parliamentary inquiries, in 2007 Labour declared the system
of self-regulation was still "appropriate".
News of the World editor Andy Coulson was David Cameron's
communications chief until early this year. At the last
election, the Murdoch tabloids switched allegiance from
Labour to Conservative.
are now taking a tougher line saying it is time to "clean up
the press" - although some senior voices worry they should
not be alienating powerful proprietors.
close to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt suggest he might
support a public inquiry into the media once police
closing time could come to the last chance saloon after all.
Schoolgirl Milly Dowler's remains were found six months
after she went missing in March 2002
visited by police investigating phone-hacking by
Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, working for the News
of the World, allegedly hacked the phone of murdered girl Milly Dowler
when she was missing.
News International has promised the "strongest possible
action" if it is proven Milly's phone was hacked.
In a statement, Mulcaire apologised to anyone "hurt or
upset" by his actions.
Jessica and Holly, both 10, of Soham, Cambridgeshire,
were murdered in 2002 by school caretaker Ian Huntley, who was jailed
BBC business editor Robert Peston says police are
investigating whether the phone of Jessica's father, Leslie Chapman, was
hacked by the press.
Our business editor says that, in relation to the
phone-hacking claims involving Milly, News International executives
privately say they accept that the basic allegations are true.
"Perhaps more striking, however," he adds, "is that those
executives also say that there may be even more embarrassing revelations
to come about the way that News of the World journalists obtained
information about other individuals."
Milly, who was 13, went missing in March 2002 near her
home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. Her remains were found in remote
woodland at Yateley Heath in Hampshire six months later.
Nightclub doorman Levi Bellfield was convicted of the
murder last month.
The Guardian has claimed Mulcaire intercepted messages
left by relatives for Milly while she was missing and that the News of
the World (NoW) deleted some messages it had already listened to in
order to make space for more to be left
In a statement released to the Guardian on Tuesday,
Mulcaire made no direct reference to those allegations but apologised
"to anybody who was hurt or upset by what I have done".
He said: "Working for the News of the World was never
easy. There was relentless pressure. There was a constant demand for
"I knew what we did pushed the limits ethically. But, at
the time, I didn't understand that I had broken the law at all."
He added that he "never had any intention of interfering
with any police inquiry into any crime".
BBC Newsnight has learned that police investigating press
phone-hacking have also spoken to Jacqui Hames, a former Met officer and
presenter on BBC's Crimewatch, and Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the
family of missing child Madeleine McCann.
Mr Mitchell told the BBC that someone had tried to
persuade his mobile phone network operator to reveal confidential
information about his account.
Meanwhile, Channel 4 News has reported that Dave Cook, a
Metropolitan Police detective, was put under surveillance by News of the
In a memo to staff on Tuesday, Rebekah Brooks, chief
executive of NoW publisher News International, said the allegations
Milly's phone was hacked were "almost too horrific to believe".
"I have to tell you that I am sickened that these events
are alleged to have happened," Mrs Brooks wrote.
"Not just because I was editor of the News of the World
at the time, but if the accusations are true, the devastating effect on
Milly Dowler's family is unforgivable."
She added: "I hope that you all realise it is
inconceivable that I knew - or worse - sanctioned these appalling
Labour leader Ed Miliband said the public would be
"horrified that the grieving parents of an abducted child were made to
go through further torture that somehow she was alive because her
voicemails were being retrieved or deleted".
He called the allegations a "stain on the character of
British journalism", adding there should be "a proper inquiry into the
culture and practices which allowed these things to happen".
Motor company Ford has announced a halt on advertising in
the News of the World, pending the newspaper's investigation and
response over the phone-hacking claims.
"Ford is a company which cares about the standards of
behaviour of its own people and those it deals with externally," it said
in a statement.
Energy company Npower and the Halifax bank have announced
they are considering their options regarding advertising in the News of
MPs will hold an emergency debate on Wednesday on whether
there should be a public inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal.
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow granted the urgent
debate following a call by Labour MP Chris Bryant, who accused the News
of the World of "playing God with a family's emotions".
In the upper house, former Conservative Party Chairman
Lord Fowler said an inquiry was needed in the wake of "one of the
biggest scandals affecting the press in living memory".
Home Office minister Baroness Browning said the
government would await the outcome of the police investigation before
deciding whether further action was necessary.
Also on Wednesday, the Media Standards Trust - which aims
to promote high news standards within the media - will launch the Hacked
Off campaign calling for a public inquiry into "phone hacking and other
forms of illegal intrusion by the press".
On BBC Radio 4's World at One programme, actor Hugh Grant
- who investigated hacking for the New Statesman in April - said that he
hoped the latest allegations would bring about a public inquiry.
It had previously been difficult to get people to care
about the hacking scandal - which involved celebrities and MPs having
allegedly been targeted - because "most victims are rich", Mr Grant
"It's been hard to get people to viscerally feel sickened
and outraged, but now that people fully realise just how repulsive these
people are - and the lengths to which they'll go - hopefully there'll be
more momentum in getting something done," he said.
The Metropolitan Police launched Operation Weeting in
January this year after new phone-hacking claims emerged. The force has
faced criticism for its initial inquiry in 2006 into phone-hacking at
That probe led to the convictions and imprisonment of
Mulcaire and then News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman in 2007
for conspiracy to access phone messages left for members of the royal
A number of alleged phone-hacking victims have since
reached out-of-court settlements with the newspaper