MPs' call for phone-hacking probe dubbed 'politically driven' but 'inevitable'

MPs' move to call for an investigation by the Standards and Privileges Committee into the ongoing phone-hacking scandal has been dubbed 'politically driven' but 'inevitable' by a public affairs expert.

Under pressure: Andy Coulson
Under pressure: Andy Coulson
The investigation, called for yesterday, will heap further pressure on Coulson, who has firmly denied allegations that he was aware that phone-hacking took place while he was editor of the News of the World.

All parties have backed the investigation, which was suggested by Labour frontbencher Chris Bryant.

Independent public affairs consultant Lionel Zetter said of the move: ‘Every politician realises that the campaign against Coulson is largely politically driven. However, the select committee quite rightly feels they have to demonstrate their independence from Government and party. It’s inevitable that they want to show they have to act.

‘Every national newspaper journalist realises that the kind of allegations being levelled at Coulson represent activities which were commonplace at that time.’  

Bryant said hacking into MPs' phones was ‘a contempt of Parliament, a severe breach of parliamentary privilege,’ reported PA.

Bryant also urged the committee to investigate whether other newspapers were involved and whether witnesses at the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's inquiry into the matter ‘lied to the House’.

Tory MP John Whittingdale backed the fresh inquiry, adding that some of the new claims ‘appear to contradict some of the evidence that we received’.

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