Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Thursday, 16 July 2009 15:53 UK

Coulson will face MPs' questions

Andy Coulson
Mr Coulson edited the News of the World until 2007

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson will be grilled by MPs about claims the paper paid investigators to hack into the phones of public figures.

Mr Coulson, now the Tories' director of communications, will face the culture select committee on Tuesday.

He quit as editor when one of his reporters was jailed for phone hacking but has said he knew nothing about it.

The MPs' inquiry follows allegations by the Guardian that up to 3,000 figures had their phones hacked.

Mr Coulson, who was editor of the newspaper between 2003 and 2007, is likely to face questions on what he knew about phone hacking being used by his reporters.

Royal phones

The committee will also be questioning someone who currently works at the News of the World on the same day - possibly the present editor Colin Myler.

Two years ago, Clive Goodman, the News of the World's royal reporter, was jailed after pleading guilty to hacking into the phone messages of royal staff.

A private investigator was also jailed and Mr Coulson resigned but he denied being aware of what was going on.

But last week the Guardian claimed the practice was much more widespread, affecting "thousands" of celebrities and politicians.

In evidence to the committee on Tuesday, the Guardian reporter who wrote the story, Nick Davies, said Mr Coulson was not on a list of 31 journalists (27 from the News of the World and four from The Sun) involved in attempts to obtain the personal information of public figures.

And the director of the Press Complaints Commission Tim Toulmin said there was no evidence linking him to crimes committed by Goodman and private investigator Glen Mulcaire.

But Mr Toulmin said that the buck stopped with the editor and everyone accepted that it was a "serious oversight" that Mr Coulson did not know what was going on.

Tory leader David Cameron has rejected calls to sack Mr Coulson over the allegations and the Metropolitan Police have said they will not re-open their inquiry into the affair, saying no new evidence had come to light.

The Liberal Democrats have asked the Independent Police Complaints Commission to look into the conduct of the original inquiry.



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