Phone Hacking 'Widely Discussed' At NOTW

A letter by a former News Of The World journalist has claimed phone hacking was "widely discussed" at the Sunday tabloid.

The document suggests the issue frequently came up at the paper's editorial meetings until any further mention of the subject was banned.

The letter was written by ex-royal editor Clive Goodman who was jailed in January 2007 along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire for hacking royal aides' phones.

Goodman penned the document in March of that year as he appealed against his dismissal from the News Of The World (NOTW).

The letter has now been published by MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee (CMS) which is investigating hacking claims against the now-defunct tabloid.

In his letter, Goodman wrote: "This practice was widely discussed in the daily editorial conference, until explicit reference to it was banned by the editor."

Goodman also stated in the document he had been assured he would be given his job back if he did not implicate anyone else at the NOTW when he appeared in court.

Andy Coulson, who was NOTW editor during the time of the events that led up to the conviction, has consistently maintained he had been unaware of phone hacking, claiming it was confined to one "rogue" reporter - Goodman.

Goodman's letter was included in documents submitted by solicitors Harbottle and Lewis which carried out a review of internal NOTW emails in relation to Goodman's wrongful dismissal claim.

In a letter to the committee, the firm criticised News International chairman James Murdoch and his News Corp chairman father, Rupert, for relying on their report to support their contention that phone hacking at the paper had been the work of one "rogue" reporter.

"There was absolutely no question of the firm being asked to provide News International with a clean bill of health which it could deploy years later in wholly different contexts for wholly different purposes," it said.

A spokeswoman for News International - News Corp's UK newspaper publishing arm - said that the company was co-operating fully with the Metropolitan Police investigation into phone-hacking.

"We recognise the seriousness of materials disclosed to the police and Parliament and are committed to working in a constructive and open way with all the relevant authorities," she said.

The committee has said James Murdoch was "likely" to be recalled to appear in front of them again.

He gave evidence to the CMS committee in July, and told MPs he was "not aware" of an email suggesting phone hacking was not limited to one reporter at the NOTW.

The CMS committee will be recalling former NOTW editor Colin Myler and former legal manager Tom Crone to give evidence on September 6.

In a statement issued in July, the pair said they had informed James Murdoch about the email and that he was "mistaken".

Daniel Cloke, who was human resources director at News International (NI), and Jon Chapman, who was director of legal affairs, have also been called to give evidence.

The MPs have also written to Mr Coulson and his predecessor as editor Rebekah Brooks, ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, and ex-NI chief executive Les Hinton to ask whether they wish to clarify earlier evidence given to the committee.

Read more on hacking:

:: Transcript Highlights: Murdochs Give Evidence

:: Timeline: How The Hacking Scandal Has Unfolded

:: Ex-NOTW Executives Challenge Murdoch's Evidence

:: Hacking Analysis: How Did The Murdochs Perform?