Press regulator forms group to review its handling of phone-hacking affair

The Press Complaints Commission has reacted to criticisms of its handling of the growing phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World by setting up a bespoke committee to examine the matter.

The watchdog's formation of a Phone Hacking Review Committee is an indication of how serious the matter has become. Scotland Yard has re-opened its investigation into the affair – which led to the jailing of one of the paper's journalists in 2007 – and a queue of around 30 high-profile figures are bringing legal actions against the title's publisher, Rupert Murdoch's News Group.

Yesterday Stephen Abell, the director of the PCC, said the regulator was "uniquely placed" to co-ordinate the investigation. "I want this committee to be a constructive and open-minded attempt to learn some lessons from what has gone before, and do something about it," he said.

The three-strong committee will comprise Ian Walden, professor of information and communications law at Queen Mary University of London, Julie Spence, former chief constable of Cambridgeshire Police and John McLellan, the editor of The Scotsman. It will also consider the outcome of the internal inquiry of the News of the World and review the PCC's own actions on the subject.