The furore over the News of the World phone hacking had seemed to be dying down. However the BBC are now reporting that former NoW journalist Clive Goodman wrote a letter alleging that hacking was widely discussed at the newspaper.
Goodman was appealing against his dismissal by the NoW following his conviction for phone hacking. However in the letter to News International’s Head of Human Resources copied to Les Hinton, News International’s then executive chairman, and Stuart Kuttner, the then managing editor of the News of the World; Goodman stated:
“The decision is perverse in that the actions leading to this criminal charge were carried out with the full knowledge and support of [redacted] … payment for Glen Mulcaire’s services was arranged by [redacted].
“The decision is inconsistent because [redacted] and other members of staff were carrying out the same illegal procedures.
“This practice was widely discussed in the daily editorial conference, until explicit reference to it was banned by the Editor. As far as I am aware, no other member of staff has faced disciplinary action, much less dismissal.”
Former Downing Street Director of Communications Andy Coulson resigned as NoW editor following Goodman’s conviction but Goodman’s letter does not state the date of these supposedly open discussions about phone hacking so it is not clear who was editor of the NoW at the time.
Clive Goodman also claimed “Tom Crone (News International Legal Manager) and the Editor (Andy Coulson) promised on many occasions that I could come back to a job at the newspaper if I did not implicate the paper or any of its staff in my mitigation plea,” wrote Mr Goodman. “I did not, and I expect the paper to honour its promise to me.”
Clearly Goodman wrote these claims after he has been convicted of criminal offences and had been sacked in disgrace from the NoW: as such his claims need to be viewed with caution.
This letter was supplied to MPs by the legal firm Harbottle and Lewis. Another copy was also provided by News International but with the references to phone hacking being widely discussed at editorial conferences and the claim about allowing Goodman to return to his job both blanked out.
It seems likely that MPs will recall a number of News International personnel. The text of Goodman’s letter is here (PDF) on the Culture media and Sport Committee’s website.