An apology to victims of phone-hacking published in Sunday’s News of the World has failed to deter calls for a thoroughgoing investigation of the practice at Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers and beyond.
“Here today, we publicly and unreservedly apologise to all such individuals,” NoW said to an unspecified number of victims of voicemail interception between 2004 and 2006. “What happened to them should not have happened. It was and remains unacceptable.”
But expressions of regret from the paper and News International’s admission of liability in several cases last week did not calm the controversy.
Lawyers for Sienna Miller said the actress would continue to pursue her legal action against News International, while senior politicians including Boris Johnson, Danny Alexander and Ed Miliband called for a wider investigation.
Mr Johnson, mayor of London and former editor of The Spectator magazine, called for Fleet Street to hold a “truth and reconciliation commission” about illicit reporting methods, which he said were widely used across the industry.
“A lot of fire is being directed in on one particular news group. I wonder whether it wouldn’t be time for all the proprietors, all the editors to come clean about what’s been happening over the past few years,” he told Sky News. “Can they now assure the public they have not been using the techniques that have allegedly been used by the News of the World?”
Mr Alexander, the Treasury chief secretary, told the BBC on Sunday that phone hacking was “outrageous” and a “very serious scandal”. Both the Metropolitan police’s investigation and legal action “must go forward”, he added. Mr Miliband, Labour leader, said the Metropolitan police should “get to the bottom of any criminal behaviour”.
Mark Thomson, Ms Miller’s solicitor, indicated that his client had not yet accepted or refused News International’s offer of settlement.
“Sienna’s claims are based on outrageous violations of her privacy; her voicemails were persistently hacked and the information obtained was used to publish numerous intrusive articles over a period of a year,” said Mr Thomson.
“She is awaiting information and disclosure from the News of the World, which has been ordered by the court and will consider her next steps once this is provided. Her primary concern is to discover the whole truth and for all those responsible to be held to account.”
A hearing will be held in the High Court on Friday to discuss how the civil case should proceed. At that point, litigants will declare whether or not they have settled with News International.
News International is expected to pay millions of pounds in damages to dozens of phone-hacking victims after admitting liability on Friday in at least eight cases.
“We have written to relevant individuals to admit liability in these civil cases and to apologise unreservedly, and will do the same to any other individuals where evidence suggests their claims to be justifiable,” the NoW said on Sunday.
Additional reporting by Jane Croft
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