Page last updated at 14:31 GMT, Thursday, 27 January 2011

Lord Fowler calls for full inquiry into phone hacking

The government needs to carry out a full-scale investigation to find out how the public can be protected from phone hacking, former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Fowler has said.

At Lords questions on 27 January 2011, Lord Fowler, a former journalist and chairman of the House of Lords communications committee, said the News of the World had been "directly conspiring against the public".

He contrasted the affair with the Watergate scandal in which a "brave" newspaper - the Washington Post - "protected the public".

"Has not exactly the opposite happened in the phone hacking scandal where you have one newspaper, and possibly others, not exposing injustice but instead directly conspiring against the public?" he asked.

Home Office minister Lord Wallace of Saltaire drew attention to the Metropolitan Police's announcement that there would be further investigation into the affair, in light of new revelations.

The inquiry has been transferred to the Met's specialist crime directorate and will be led by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers.

The News of the World's royal editor, Clive Goodman, was jailed for conspiracy to access phone messages in 2007, along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, but the paper insists it was an isolated case.

Peers also put questions to the government on DEFRA's contingency funding for disease outbreaks, elections in Zimbabwe, and ensuring airport authorities can deal with snow and ice.

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