Hacking scandal

THE Parliamentary recess has traditionally marked the beginning of what is known as the silly season in Fleet Street – but there seems little prospect of that happening this year. Allegation and counter-allegation continue to be made in the hacking scandal which seems certain to claim further scalps.

Attention is now turning to the evidence that James Murdoch gave to the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee earlier this week which was yesterday challenged by two former senior executives.

Precisely who knew what was happening and when at the News of the World is central to police inquiries of an alleged cover-up and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Mr Murdoch denies knowing as much as three years ago that hacking at the newspaper was more widespread than being confined to a single rogue reporter. For now, the furore seems to be drifting away from the Government but the dubious appointment of the News of the World’s former editor Andy Coulson to the centre, firstly of David Cameron’s team in opposition, and then, extraordinarily, to the heart of the Downing Street machine apparently with few checks being carried out could well return to haunt the Prime Minister.

He may have spent a record amount of time responding to questions in the Commons this week about the scandal but it will be those that he significantly failed to answer which will continue to attract attention. Mr Cameron said yesterday that it was for News International and its shareholders to clear up the “mess” that had been created – but questions certainly remain over his judgment in the affair.

Meanwhile police inquiries into what happened could take years to complete.

In true newspaper fashion, this story is bound to run and run.