Hacking scandal

Andy Coulson's deputy Neil Wallis arrested

A PR executive arrested over phone hacking at the News of the World was paid £24,000 by Scotland Yard to work as a two-day-a-month consultant.

Neil Wallis, a former deputy editor at the Sunday tabloid, was employed as recently as last year as sick leave cover for the force's deputy director of public affairs, a police spokesman confirmed.



The 60-year-old's contract was cancelled less than six months before the launch of Operation Weeting - the second investigation into phone hacking at News International.



Wallis was arrested in a dawn raid at his west London home on suspicion of intercepting mobile phones.



He was questioned for several hours at Hammersmith police station before being bailed until a date in November, Scotland Yard confirmed.



Wallis, who served under Andy Coulson's editorship before becoming the paper's executive editor in 2007, is the ninth person arrested since the Metropolitan Police launched the fresh investigation.



Before he was released on bail tonight, Scotland Yard disclosed that his PR firm, Chamy Media, was employed in 2009 and last year to "provide strategic communication advice and support".



As part of the contract, Wallis advised the Commissioner's Office, the Directorate of Public Affairs and Specialist Operations, working closely with Assistant Commissioner John Yates.



A statement from the force said: "Three relevant companies were invited to provide costings for this service on the basis of two days per month.



"Chamy Media were appointed as they were significantly cheaper than the others. The contract ran from October 2009 until September 2010, when it was terminated by mutual consent."



Wallis, who lives in Chiswick, west London, joined Rupert Murdoch's UK newspaper group News International in 1986, rising to become deputy editor of the Sun.



He was editor of Sunday tabloid the People from 1998 until he joined the News of the World five years later.



After leaving newspapers, he started working for entertainment PR firm the Outside Organisation in 2009.



He is also a former member of the Editors' Code of Practice committee and of the Press Complaints Commission, the British newspaper industry's self-regulating body which has been accused by politicians of being too weak to tackle serious journalistic malpractice.



The arrest came as police chiefs were grilled over their associations with Wallis and other executives during the ill-fated first inquiry into hacking.



Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said his integrity was "completely intact" as he defended his decision to dine with Wallis in 2006.



Sir Paul told a Metropolitan Police Authority meeting: "I do not believe that on any occasion I have acted inappropriately. I am very satisfied with my own integrity."



Mr Coulson, 43, who was Downing Street communications chief until January this year, was himself arrested by Operation Weeting officers on Friday over alleged phone hacking and illegal payments to police. He was released on bail until October.

News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform