6 & 9 February
The editor-in-chief of Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday, admitted to the Inquiry that he was aware that the newspaper was using search agencies, but not the extent to which they were doing so.
The fact that the Daily Mail had used private detective Steve Whittamore's agency was known to Dacre, but he told the Inquiry that Whittamore had assured him that he was working within the law. Dacre said "every newspaper" had been using Whittamore at one stage, and defended his paper's use of such agencies, saying: "We needed to get to the people in a family to check a story. This was a quick and easy way to get to information. Time is everything in journalism."
He also called for a new press card system, where only journalists from print publications with accredited cards would be allowed access to certain events, and would be at risk being 'struck off' if found behaving improperly.
Defending Jan Moir's column on Stephen Gately's death, which sparked 22,000 complaints to the PCC, Dacre said the piece "could have benefited from a little judicious sub-editing" but that "there is not a homophobic bone in Jan Moir's body".
Dacre was recalled to the Inquiry on 9 February to answer further questions on The Mail on Sunday's description of Hugh Grant's earlier evidence - suggesting that the paper had hacked his phone - as a "mendacious smear".