More Advertisers Boycott News Of The World

Ford, Mitsibushi, The Co-operative Group, Vauxhall, Lloyds Banking Group and Virgin Holidays have suspended adverts in the News Of The World over phone hacking claims.

The advertising exodus began on Tuesday night, as Ford announced it was cancelling deals with the newspaper, and others have since followed its lead.

In a strongly-worded statement, The Co-operative Group said the fresh allegations of phone hacking had been "met with revulsion by the vast majority of members".

It is to "suspend temporarily any further advertising and promotional activity with the News of the World until the outcome of the investigation is known".

Lloyds told Sky News it had decided not to place an advert for Halifax, which it owns, in this Sunday's edition of the newspaper.

"In recognising and responding to consumer reaction, Halifax has cancelled an advertisement in this Sunday's News of the World," the group said.

"This was a tactical decision in the short term whilst we carefully consider our longer term position and its implications."

Meanwhile, carmaker Ford said it was a company that "cares about the standards of behaviour of its own people and those it deals with externally".

"We are awaiting an outcome from the News Of The World investigation and expect a speedy and decisive response," it said.

Japanese car maker Mitsibushi has pulled its advertising, saying it will donate the money it would have spent on the bookings to Childline.

Virgin Holidays and Vauxhall have also said they will not go ahead with advertising bookings, pending a review of the situation. 

The announcements come as a Twitter campaign calling on advertisers to boycott the newspaper gains pace.

The well-known media commentator behind the campaign, Roy Greenslade , identified advertisers in last weekend's News of the World and encouraged Twitter followers to bombard them with messages.

Speaking on Jeff Randall Live , the professor of journalism explained why he feels action needs to be taken.

"It beggars belief that an editor doesn't know the provenance of major stories."

In response to the campaign, supermarket Tesco spelt out its position via Facebook.

"We know that you have a lot of questions surrounding recent News Of The World allegations. 

"These latest allegations (that murder victim Milly Dowler's phone was hacked) will cause huge distress to a family which has suffered enough.

"It's now a matter for the police; like everyone, we await the outcome of their investigation."

Other advertisers contacted by Sky News, including easyJet, T-Mobile and nPower have said they currently had no plans to suspend advertising with the News Of The World but would be watching developments closely.

Shares in BSkyB fell 15p, or 1.78% to 830p in afternoon trading in London.