As staff prepare for the final edition of The News of the World tabloid Sunday paper, the Labour government are making demands that a full judicial phone-hacking inquiry should begin immediately to prevent vital evidence becoming lost when the paper closes for good.
There have been strong denials from News International that millions of e-mails have already been deleted and prime Minister David Cameron said that:
“Number 10 is acting as rapidly as possible and legally permissible”, and that necessary steps were in place to appoint a judge to head the phone-hacking inquiry.
Harriet Harman, Labour’s Deputy Leader warned:
“Think about what is going to happen at the end of the day.
“The news of the World is going to be closed down, all the staff are going to be disappearing.
“What will happen to all the computers?
“If a judge is really to find out what happened, not to mention the police inquiry, if all the staff are going off in different directions it would be very difficult for the judge to call on them to come and give evidence that they know!”
However, a News International spokeswoman retaliated against Harriet Harman’s fears as being, “rubbish”, adding:
“We adopted a documented e-mail retention policy in line with our US parent’s records management policy.
“We are co-operating actively with the police and have not destroyed any evidence.”
As the News of the World prepare for its final edition, editor Colin Myler said:
“It’s a very sad day.
“I’m thinking about my team of talented journalists”, and sub-editor Alan Edwards added:
“I feel sad that so many good journalists are actually going to be put on the dole because of what’s happened years before they ever worked on the newspaper.
“It’s a paper that’s been part of British culture for 168-years and frankly I think we’ve been victims of the witch-hunt by some newspapers and I hope they’re happy today as they dance on the grave of a British institution.”