Police chief quits amid News of the World allegations

Torin Douglas
Former media correspondent

image source, Reuters
image captionSir Paul Stephenson resigned as the Met Police Commissioner

This round-up of today's main media stories focuses on the resignation of the Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and the arrest of News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

"Britain's top police officer, Sir Paul Stephenson, announced his shock resignation as he was brought down by his failure to tell senior figures, including the prime minister, that Scotland Yard had hired a former News of the World executive as an adviser while refusing to reopen inquiries into phone hacking" writes the Guardian. It adds "In a stunning statement, Stephenson stressed his integrity and dismissed weekend claims that it was compromised by accepting a free stay at a luxury health spa where Wallis had been hired as a PR consultant".

Ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks was arrested on Sunday by police investigating phone hacking and bribery at the News of the World, says the BBC News. The 43-year-old was arrested by appointment on Sunday on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and on suspicion of corruption. Mrs Brooks, who has denied wrongdoing, was released at midnight. She quit News International on Friday as pressure mounted over her role in the deepening hacking scandal.

Guardian columnist Michael White says "political pressure on media excess tightened in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal on Sunday when Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg called for a string of reforms" on Sunday. He adds the reforms could include tighter rules on quasi-monopoly ownership and on misconduct, as well as fast-track payments to people wronged by the press or TV.

The Telegraph says the BBC have "been accused of acting like a real life version of the comedy The Office after spending nearly a million pounds on actors to role-play as disgruntled staff". Emma Boon of the Taxpayers Alliance said: "This is yet another example of BBC profligacy. Instead of pleading poverty, they should cut out spending like this." A Freedom of Information request showed that £901,097 was spent over five years. A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC is careful to ensure value for money in its recruitment services, training and development activities. Where appropriate...we occasionally use actors to ensure our staff recruitment is most effective."

The Mail on Sunday says Marks & Spencer has ditched its glamorous television campaigns which featured female celebrities including Myleene Klass, Twiggy, Dannii Minogue and Mick Jagger's daughter Lizzie. It says "Two separate sources confirmed that M&S had abandoned the celebrity TV adverts. The sources said Twiggy, 61, and Lisa Snowdon, 39, would continue to work for M&S but would feature only on billboard and in-store promotions." An M&S spokeswoman refused to comment.

The Guardian reports Les Hinton, the chief executive of Dow Jones and Rupert Murdoch's "right-hand man", resigned from News Corp on Friday night, according to a statement from the company. The paper adds that Mr Hinton, who led Murdoch's News International when the phone-hacking allegations first arose, quit hours after Rebekah Brooks, News International's chief executive, also resigned. "Their departures came on the day the phone-hacking scandal engulfing Murdoch's empire led him to issue a widespread, abject apology for what he described as 'serious wrongdoing'" it says.

The resignation of Britain's most senior policeman, Sir Paul Stephenson, on Sunday night came just in time for the newspapers, who have reacted with shock, as reported in the BBC's newspaper review. The Guardian said his departing speech was inevitable and it was alarming that he felt he had done nothing wrong in enjoying a lengthy stay at a health spa for free.