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Professor Phil Jones - the man at the centre of the "climategate" controversy over emails and other sensitive data published by hackers - has agreed to stand aside as director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU).

He will not run the University of East Anglia's influential climate change centre until an "independent review" into the affair is completed.

The University said CRU would announce details of the review "within days".

"What is most important is that CRU continues its world-leading research with as little interruption and diversion as possible," Jones said.

"After a good deal of consideration I have decided that the best way to achieve this is by stepping aside from the director's role during the course of the independent review."

In the meantime CRU will be run his colleague, Professor Peter Liss.

Jones' move follows intense pressure from both sides of the global warming debate after he was directly implicated in the affair. In one of the published emails, which he accepts is genuine, Jones talked of a "trick" to "hide the decline" in a temperature series.

However, he stands by his research and while conceding "some of the published emails do not read well", claims CRU's critics have taken them out of context to damage its reputation.

To some sceptics, the emails confirm their suspicions that climate change scientists have conspired to manipulate evidence in favour of global warming.

All eyes will now be on UEA's review. ®

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