Rupert Murdoch's Plan To Reinstate Arrested Sun Staffers Faces Scrutiny
In a letter accusing News International of “corrupt and illegal practices,” Labour MP Tom Watson has asked the Police to investigate whether bail conditions are being broken.
LONDON – Labour MP Tom Watson has written to the head of the Metropolitan Police asking him to investigate Rupert Murdoch’s plan to bring arrested newspaper staff back into work.
Murdoch told staff on Friday that the nine reporters on The Sun who had been arrested in relation to an investigation into bribery would have their legal bills paid by News International and would be welcomed back to work after having been arrested and released on police bail.
Murdoch has vowed to restore confidence in the newspapers by taking personal control of next week's launch of the Sun on Sunday.
“It is known that for many years News International has destroyed evidence and obstructed police and Parliamentary inquiries into its corrupt and illegal practices,” Watson wrote in a letter to to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Benedict Brogan Howe.
“It seems remarkable that the people being investigated of such serious crimes should be put in a position that makes it impossible to determine whether bail conditions have been breached.”
The nine reporters, who include the deputy editor, chief reporter and picture editor, were arrested in two separate Police raids.
Watson has queried the bail conditions that the staff are under, arguing that as a condition of being released on police bail, they have agreed to have no contact with other staff, especially as further arrests have not been ruled out.
“I do not want to see Mr Murdoch’s actions undermine your investigation. Mr Murdoch must be aware of the terms of the bail that was awarded to his employees. The ‘no contact” terms were there for a reason,” the MP has written.
“Are you satisfied that vital evidence will be secure as a result of Mr Murdoch’s actions?”
Watson, who has long been a thorn in Rupert Murdoch’s side – was vindicated in his battle to prove that News International was involved in phone-hacking after the Milly Dowler affair.
He later also discovered that he had been put under surveillance by News International’s legal team because of his role pursuing phone-hacking allegations.