UK Politics

Timeline: News of the World phone-hacking row

Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption Phone hacking first came to light in November 2005

This timeline has has been replaced by one you can read here

The News of the World has ceased publication after 168 years, as anger mounts over allegations of phone hacking and corruption by the paper.

This timeline looks at the chain of events in the scandal, starting with the most recent developments.

11 July 2011

News Corporation's bid to take full control of BSkyB is referred to the Competition Commission by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt after News Corp decides to withdraw its proposed undertaking to spin off Sky News.

Image copyright AP
Image caption It was alleged that the Sun obtained medical records of former prime minister Gordon Brown's son

This had previously been a key condition in their takeover bid.

Earlier Jeremy Hunt had written to Ofcom to seek fresh advice on the proposed takeover.

Meanwhile News International's other newspaper, the Sunday Times, had illegally "blagged" private financial and property details of Gordon Brown when he was the chancellor, according to new allegations.

Another News International newspaper, the Sun, allegedly accessed private medical records when it revealed in 2006 that Mr Brown's son Fraser had cystic fibrosis, according to a BBC investigation.

There was also evidence suggesting a News of the World reporter tried to buy a phone book containing Royal Family telephone numbers.

Earlier, relatives of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler went to Downing Street for talks with Mr Clegg about the public inquiries into phone-hacking.

They say News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, who was News of the World editor when Milly's phone was allegedly hacked, should resign.

10 July 2011

The final edition of the News of the World is published, its front page declaring: "Thank you & goodbye." In a full-page editorial the paper offers an apology and says: "Quite simply, we lost our way."

Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner John Yates expresses "extreme regret" for not reopening the phone hacking investigation two years ago. He says the decision now seems a "pretty crap one".

Mr Murdoch arrives in London and visits News International's head office for talks with executives. Later he appears with Mrs Brooks and says she is his first priority.

9 July 2011

A 63-year-old unnamed man arrested on suspicion of corruption allegations is released on bail.

Labour pushes for the inquiry into the scandal to start immediately but Number 10 says it is acting "as rapidly as possible".

The final edition of the News of the World goes to press.

In a short speech to more than 200 staff outside the paper's offices in Wapping, editor Colin Myler holds up the 8,674th and final edition, saying: "This is not where we want to be and not where we deserve to be."

8 July 2011

David Cameron's former communications chief Andy Coulson is arrested and questioned by police for nine hours over allegations of corruption and phone hacking during his time as editor of the News of the World. He is later released on bail.

Former NoW royal editor Clive Goodman is also arrested and questioned at a separate police station over claims that police were bribed. He too is later released on bail.

A third man, an unnamed 63-year-old, is arrested at an address in Surrey on suspicion of corruption.

At a Downing Street press conference, the prime minister announces two inquiries into the scandal - one to be led by a judge.

7 July 2011

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) says it will take over the investigation into claims that Metropolitan Police officers were paid by the News of the World.

News International chairman James Murdoch announces that the 10 July edition of the News of the World will be its last.

6 July 2011

A growing list of companies announce that they are suspending their advertising in the News of the World.

Reports suggest mobile phones owned by relatives of UK soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan may have been hacked by the News of the World.

5 July 2011

It emerges that, several months earlier, the parents of murdered schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were contacted by detectives investigating alleged phone hacking.

Cambridgeshire Police said the families of both girls had been contacted by Metropolitan Police officers and are "assisting with them with their inquiries".

4 July 2011

Murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler had her mobile phone allegedly hacked by News of the World reporter's in the days shortly after she went missing, according to the Guardian newspaper.

Prime Minister David Cameron said if the claims were true, it was "truly shocking".

27 June 2011

Police arrest a 34-year-old woman at a central London police station on suspicion of intercepting communications. She is bailed until early October.

The journalist is understood to be Laura Elston, who covers royal stories for the Press Association news agency. The Press Association confirms one of its journalists has been arrested.

23 June 2011

Police investigating the phone-hacking claims arrest a 39-year-old woman in West Yorkshire. She is understood to be Terenia Taras, the partner or former partner of Greg Miskiw, who worked in senior roles for the News of the World until 2005. She was released on bail and is due to return to a West Yorkshire police station in mid-October.

22 June 2011

Football pundit Andy Gray accepts £20,000 in compensation from the News of the World owner News Group Newspapers, plus undisclosed costs, over voicemail interceptions.

15 June 2011

Footballer Ryan Giggs launches legal action against the News of the World over claims his mobile phone was hacked, his lawyer says.

9 June 2011

Lord Prescott, an alleged victim of phone hacking by the News of the World, calls for the government to hold an independent public inquiry into the issue.

Meanwhile, Scotland Yard confirms it is also investigating allegations of computer-hacking involving the News of the World. It follows claims on the BBC Panorama's programme that a senior executive at the paper hired a hacker to access a former army intelligence officer's computer.

7 June 2011

Image copyright AP
Image caption Sienna Miller settled in court for £100,000 damages and legal costs

At a brief hearing at London's High Court, News Group - the owner of the News of the World - formally apologises to Sienna Miller for hacking into several of her mobile phones.

The actress, who did not attend, formally settled for £100,000 damages and legal costs.

Her counsel says she had been worried that trusted friends or family members could have been leaking private details about her life after stories appeared about her in the paper in 2005-6.

News Group's lawyers offer "sincere apologies" and acknowledge the information should never have been obtained by hacking, nor published.

31 May 2011

Former senior Scotland Yard officer Ali Dizaei is told by the Met Police his phone could have been hacked in 2006. If the claims are true, Mr Dizaei says he will sue.

23 May 2011

Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott, Labour MP Chris Bryant, ex-Scotland Yard commander Brian Paddick and journalist Brendan Montague win a High Court bid for a judicial review into the police inquiry. They believe their human rights were breached.

14 April 2011

Senior News of the World journalist James Weatherup is arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications.

10 April 2011

The News of the World publishes an apology on its website and on page two of the newspaper.

It apologises for intercepting voicemails between 2004 and 2006 and says its past behaviour was a "matter of genuine regret".

But lawyers for two of the paper's victims say the apology and offer of compensation are not enough.

Lawyers for actress Sienna Miller and publicist Nicola Phillips reject the offer.

8 April 2011

News International announces it has decided to approach some of those suing the News of the World for alleged phone hacking, offering an unreserved apology and admission of liability.

The publisher says it is going to set up a compensation scheme, to deal with "justifiable claims" fairly and efficiently. However, News International adds it will continue to contest cases "that we believe are without merit or where we are not responsible".

5 April 2011

News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former news editor Ian Edmondson are arrested on suspicion of unlawfully intercepting voicemail messages. They are released on bail until September.

14 March 2011

The BBC's Panorama reveals that in 2006, a then NoW executive, Alex Marunchak, obtained e-mails belonging to an ex-British Army intelligence officer that had been hacked in to by a private detective.

Mr Marunchak denies any wrongdoing, while News International says it will act if shown new evidence of improper conduct.

18 February 2011

A judge rules that Glenn Mulcaire must provide information about whether other journalists at the NoW were involved in hacking. He had tried to claim he should be exempt from giving evidence for fear of incriminating himself.

18 February 2011

Lawyers for a football agent suing the NoW claim Glenn Mulcaire passed information directly to the newsdesk rather than an individual reporter, Goodman. They say the desk could have been staffed by "a number of journalists", and suggest that this means knowledge of phone-hacking was more widespread than previously admitted.

9 February 2011

The Met Police release a statement saying officers have identified more potential victims of hacking while reviewing files relating to the original Goodman and Mulcaire case. They say they are urgently notifying people who had previously been told that police had "little or no information" about them.

Lord Prescott also reveals detectives have told him they have "significant new evidence" relating to his case.

30 January 2011

Former MP George Galloway claims he is being offered "substantial sums of money" by NoW after his phone was allegedly hacked. The paper refuses to comment.

26 January 2011

The Met Police issue a statement saying they are to launch a fresh investigation into hacking after receiving "significant new information" about activities at the NoW. It also emerges that the paper's head of news, Ian Edmondson, has been sacked.

23 January 2011

Sources confirm that Gordon Brown asked police if his phone was hacked while he was prime minister.

21 January 2011

Mr Coulson resigns from his post at Number 10, blaming coverage of the phone-hacking scandal.

17 January 2011

David Cameron defends his communications chief Andy Coulson, saying he's doing "a very good job" despite the ongoing speculation about his knowledge of phone hacking during his time as NoW editor.

14 January 2011

Following a civil action launched against the News of the World by actress Sienna Miller, it is announced that the CPS will now review all the material held by police about phone-hacking at the NoW. Prosecutors will assess whether a fresh criminal trial is likely.

7 January 2011

Scotland Yard asks the News of the World for any new material they may have in relation to hacking.

5 January 2011

News of the World suspends its news editor Ian Edmondson, after claims of phone-hacking in 2005-06.

December 2010

It emerges that the Scotland Yard inquiry has not found any new evidence of criminal activity, and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has judged there is "no admissible evidence" to support the claims that public figures' phones were hacked.

September 2010

Image copyright PA
Image caption Andy Coulson used to edit the News of the World

A New York Times story suggests phone hacking was widely practised at the NoW.

Sean Hoare, a former reporter at the newspaper and one of the sources for the New York Times's allegations, tells the BBC phone tapping was "endemic".

He says Mr Coulson personally asked him to do it when he was the newspaper's editor.

The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee announced another inquiry into the phone-hacking allegations following the claims.

The influential Commons Standards and Privileges Committee then announced it would examine whether the hacking of MPs' phones amounted to contempt of Parliament.

February 2010

The culture committee's report accused the NoW of "collective amnesia" over the extent of the practice of phone hacking and says it was "inconceivable" senior executives at the newspaper had not known about it.

News International rejected the claims and accused committee members of innuendo and exaggeration.

But the MPs find no evidence that Mr Coulson had either approved of phone hacking by his reporters or was aware that phones were being hacked.

November 2009

Having looked into the allegations, a Press Complaints Commission (PCC) report says it had found "no evidence" that phone hacking was still going on.

September 2009

Scotland Yard reveals that suspected victims had been identified among royals, government, police and the military.

July 2009

Two-and-a-half-years later the Guardian newspaper claims NoW journalists had been involved in the widespread phone hacking of up to 3,000 celebrities, politicians and sports stars, while under the editorship of Andy Coulson.

The newspaper's list includes the then deputy prime minister, Lord Prescott, London Mayor Boris Johnson and celebrity cook Nigella Lawson.

The cross-party House of Commons Culture, Media and Sports Committee interviews News International bosses, including Mr Coulson, over the Guardian's accusations.

The newspaper's former editor says he gave his reporters "freedom to do their job" but ordered them not to use subterfuge of any kind "unless there was a clear public interest in doing so".

January 2007

Following a criminal trial Clive Goodman, the NoW's royal editor, is jailed for four months for conspiracy to access phone messages left for royals.

It emerges in court Goodman had used mobile phone numbers and secret codes used by network operators to hack into voicemails of celebrities.

Goodman's confederate, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, is jailed for six months on the same charge.

After the verdict, Andy Coulson formally resigns as NoW editor, although he claims he did not know about the practice.

November 2005

The NoW publishes a story about Prince William's knee injury, prompting fears that his aides' phone voicemail messages are being intercepted.

Complaints by three royal staff members spark a police inquiry.

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