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PM promises change as police interview ex-spokesman

Email hack on dead UK soldier revealed

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Andy Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World and Prime Minister's former official spokesman, is being interviewed by the Metropolitan Police about allegations that – despite his earlier denial – he knew about phone-hacking at the paper during his tenure.

Another as-yet-unnamed senior journalist at the paper also faces arrest over the next few days, The Guardian has said. Three other former journalists have already been arrested and questioned by detectives from Operation Weeting, the reopened Met Police investigation.

The development follows an escalation of the seriousness of allegations of wrongdoing at the NotW during Coulson's tenure, which prompted News International to reach the bold and ruthless decision not to sack Rebekah Brooks but instead to close the 168-year-old paper.

Prime Minister David Cameron defended his decision to employ Coulson, who he described as a friend, and promised a judge-led inquiry into hacking at News International. He also promised to scrap the Press Complaints Commission and replace it with a stronger regulator.

The paper has been embroiled in renewed allegations that it hacked into the mobile voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, confusing a police investigation in the process and leading her parents to believe she was still alive because messages were being deleted.

It is also accused of listening to voicemails of the families of July 7 terrorist victims and those of relatives of servicemen killed in Afghanistan. In addition, the paper faces police bribery allegations that have been referred by the Met to the Police Complaints Commission.

Although almost all the attention has focused on phone-hacking evidence; it is increasingly emerging that journalists at the NotW routinely asked shady private detectives to carry out a range of actions not limited to hacking into voicemail inboxes.

For example, the Daily Mail reports that the NotW is suspected of hacking into the Hotmail account of Captain James Philippson, who became the first British soldier to be killed during combat in the Helmand province of Afghanistan back in 2006.

Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed back in 2006 after they were convicted on intercepting the voicemail of royal aides, but a succession of civil privacy lawsuits together with a dogged intervention led by The Guardian and parliamentary investigations eventually led to a re-opening of the police investigation back in January. ®

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