Rebekah Brooks arrested over phone-hacking

Rebekah Brooks was editor of News of the World when Milly Dowler's phone was hacked. Photo: Getty.
Rebekah Brooks was editor of News of the World when Milly Dwler's phone was hacked. Photo: Getty.o

By Ian Dunt

Rebekah Brooks has been arrested over allegations of phone-hacking, introducing a new dimension to the scandal that has dominated British politics for a fortnight.

The Met police confirmed that a 43-year old woman was arrested by appointment at around 12:00 BST at a London police station by officers from Operation Weeting, the phone-hacking investigation, together with officers from Operation Elveden, which is looking into payments to the police from media sources.

The Met statement read: "She was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to Section1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 and on suspicion of
corruption allegations contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906."

Ms Brooks is currently in custody. She is the 10th person to be arrested in connection to the investigation into allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World.

The surprise move complicates Ms Brooks appearance before the culture, media and sport select committee this Tuesday.

The former News of the World editor will be likely to avoid several lines of questioning on the basis of their effect on the ongoing criminal investigation, especially if she is charged.

As news of the arrest spread on the internet, some began to suggest that the police may have opted to arrest Ms Brooks now to stop her commenting on police payments on Tuesday.

"Had she made her appointment to be arrested before confirming attendance at our committee? I wouldn't be surprised," tweeted committee member Tom Watson.

Asked if Ms Brooks would still appear before MPs next week, John Whittingdale, chair of the committee, said: “It does change the picture somewhat.”

Labour MP Chris Bryant - a leading campaigner in the phone-hacking scandal - told the BBC he thought the timing was "odd".

It was at a previous appearance before the culture, media and sport committee that Ms Brooks originally admitted payments from the News of the World to the police for stories.

A PR spokesperson for Ms Brooks said: "Rebekah is assisting the police with their enquiries. She attended a London police station voluntarily.

"It was a pre-arranged appointment. We are unable to comment further as it is an ongoing police investigation."

The arrest is also likely to lead to questions about whether News International executives knew about Ms Brooks upcoming arrest when she resigned on Friday. Executives at the company quickly stated that they had no idea the arrest would occur when she resigned.


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