9 Jul 2011

Murdoch expected in UK to tackle crisis

News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch is expected to arrive in London to take charge of the growing crisis at News of the World, amid calls for a judge to lead an inquiry into the scandal.

Rupert Murdoch arrives in London to take charge of the phone hacking scandal at News of the World (Image: Getty)

The media mogul’s imminent arrival in the UK follows reports that millions of archived emails at News International may have been destroyed in a bid to scotch the inquiry.

The news come as staff at the News of the World prepare the final edition of the tabloid, many having reportedly arrived for work this morning wearing black.

News of the World editor Colin Myler said: “It’s a very sad day. I’m thinking about my team of talented journalists”.

Wellwishers has left flowers on the front steps of the newspaper’s offices, according to political editor David Wooding.

Read more: The day the World ended

Meanwhile, Labour’s Ivan Lewis has called for an immediate cross-party discussion with a judge to be put in place.

It’s a very sad day. I’m thinking about my team of talented journalists. NOTW editor Colin Myler

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the shadow culture secretary said: “In view of the fact that the News of the World is shutting down, it is a matter of great urgency that any documentary evidence, including files and emails, is preserved to enable a proper inquiry into these serious allegations to take place.”

The letter, which stated that the inquiry’s terms of reference should be agreed with the judge “as soon as practicably possible”, follows another arrest in connection with the scandal.

Watch: the demise of NOTW, including exclusive footage

A 63-year-old man, arrested in Surrey last night in connection with alleged corrupt payments made to police officers, was released on bail and ordered to return to a London police station in October. Police would not confirm reports that he is a private investigator.

News of the World editor Andy Coulson has also been released on bail following nine hours of questioning over suspected corruption and the phone hacking scandal that forced the 168-year-old newspaper to close.

As Mr Coulson, 43, left Lewisham police station yesterday, he said: “There is an awful lot I would like to say, but I can’t at this time.”

The Sunday tabloid’s ex-royal editor Clive Goodman, 53, has also spoken to police over claims officers were bribed following a dawn swoop on his Surrey home.

As the crisis at Mr Murdoch’s empire deepened, Mr Cameron pledged “no stone would be left unturned”.

His words followed a report in The Guardian that Scotland Yard was probing claims that a member of staff at News International deleted a host of emails on two occasions at the end of January.

Phone hacking scandal: who are Rebekah Brooks' friends?

Scotland Yard refused to comment on the allegations, and a News International spokeswoman said: “This assertion is rubbish. We adopted a documented email retention policy in line with our US parent’s records management policy.

“We are co-operating actively with police and have not destroyed evidence.”

The call to speed up the inquiry could jeopardise Mr Murdoch’s plans to take over broadcaster BSkyB. Mr Cameron’s opponents on the left want to block the bid on the grounds it would give Mr Murdoch too much political clout.

Mr Murdoch, who has spent most of the week at a conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, has kept a low-profile since the scandal erupted. On Thursday, he refused to answer journalists’ questions on the matter, referring them to a statement in support of chief executive Rebekah Brooks.