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Former Sutton Coldfield MP Lord Fowler demands independent phone hacking inquiry

By Jonathan Walker on Jul 6, 11 12:38 PM in

Newsnight's Michael Crick is reporting that former Sutton Coldfield MP Norman Fowler might lead an inquiry into phone hacking. Lord Fowler was a Cabinet Minister under Margaret Thatcher, and Conservative Party Chairman under John Major. He was also chairman of the Birmingham Post newspapers for five years.

In the House of Lords yesterday, he made his thoughts about recent developments clear - and urged the Government to commit itself to "an independent inquiry looking at all the evidence"

He said: "I declare an interest in that I was once a journalist, but my view of the press is that newspapers are there to expose injustice and abuse of power, not to illegally intrude into the private lives of the public.

"Is my noble friend aware that since January of this year I have asked four Questions on the Floor of this House on phone hacking? Steadily, month by month, the revelations have become more and more serious, with today's revelation about Milly Dowler almost beyond belief and certainly beyond contempt.

"Are we not now confronted with one of the biggest scandals affecting the press in living memory and with clear evidence that a deliberate conspiracy has taken place against the public? Will she therefore recognise that this is not a matter of party politics but of protecting the public, and that the only way that that can be done successfully is by an eventual independent inquiry looking at all the evidence?

"Why cannot the Government commit themselves to that today?"

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Jonathan Walker

Jonathan Walker - The Birmingham Post's political editor
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