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Updated: July 20, 2011 15:08 IST

Cameron to be quizzed over phone-hacking scandal

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An anti-government protester chants slogans outside the Portcullis House, adjacent to the Houses of Parliament in central London. Photo: AP
AP An anti-government protester chants slogans outside the Portcullis House, adjacent to the Houses of Parliament in central London. Photo: AP

Mr. Cameron was criticised for employing Andy Coulson, a former editor of Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid, shut down over the scandal.

Prime Minister David Cameron will be grilled by Parliament today about a phone-hacking scandal that has rocked the British establishment.

Mr. Cameron cut short his visit to Africa on Tuesday to join parliamentarians in debating the phone-hacking issue and answer lawmakers’ scrutiny over his links to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire in a special session of House of Commons.

The scandal has forced the resignations of senior executives at News Corp and two of Britain’s top policemen as well as fuelling opposition attacks on Mr. Cameron.

Rupert Murdoch, his son James, former aide Rebekah Brooks and senior police officers faced lawmakers on the issue yesterday in an extraordinary series of Commons committee hearings.

During the tense hearing, Murdoch and his son James apologised for the phone hacking, a scandal which has engulfed their media empire and rocked police and politicians to the core, and told lawmakers that “these actions do not live up to the standards our company aspires to.”

Mr. Cameron was criticised for employing Andy Coulson, a former editor of Mr. Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid, shut down over the scandal.

Aides have indicated that he expects to be questioned by MPs on the admission last night that his former media chief Coulson had received “informal advice” before elections last year from Neil Wallis, a key suspect in the hacking row, the Mirror reported.

Both men have been arrested and bailed in connection with the Scotland Yard hacking inquiry.

Mr. Wallis is also at the heart of allegations that forced Scotland Yard chief Paul Stephenson and anti-terror Chief John Yates to resign.

A Conservative spokesman has insisted Wallis was never employed by the Conservative Party and had not been paid.

He added: “It has been drawn to our attention that he may have provided Andy Coulson with some informal advice on a voluntary basis before the election. We are currently finding out the exact nature of any advice.”

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