NoW reporter quizzed in phone-hack probe

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The Independent Online

Another News of the World journalist has been questioned by detectives investigating the phone-hacking scandal.

James Weatherup, a senior reporter who has also worked as a news editor at the Sunday tabloid, was bailed this afternoon after being held at a London police station.

He was the third journalist arrested since the Metropolitan Police reopened their inquiry into claims that staff at the top-selling newspaper hacked into the answerphone messages of celebrities and politicians.

The arrest further underlined the Metropolitan Police's determination to investigate the scandal thoroughly after criticism that an earlier inquiry was inadequate.

Weatherup was arrested at a property this morning by the force's Operation Weeting team on suspicion of unlawfully intercepting mobile phone voicemail messages. He was bailed until September.

Neville Thurlbeck, 50, and Ian Edmondson, 42, were held earlier this month and have been released on police bail to return in September.

Lord Prescott, the former deputy prime minister, said the latest arrest was further evidence that News Corporation's takeover of BSkyB should be delayed until the police inquiry is complete.

Meanwhile, former Labour home secretary David Blunkett warned that phone-hacking by journalists was not limited to the News of the World.

He told BBC Radio 4's World At One: "I'd like a proper police inquiry. It isn't, incidentally, just News International.

"I think the experience I'm aware of from eight, six, five years ago is undoubtedly there's more that's going on than meets the eye."

Former Tory leader Michael Howard told the programme: "I think that what we need is proper enforcement of the criminal law. If people have broken the criminal law then they should be prosecuted in a rigorous way. That seems to be happening now and that should continue."

Weatherup has worked on national papers for 25 years, according to his LinkedIn webpage.

"My posts include reporter, chief reporter, deputy news editor and news editor of The People and News of the World newspapers," he writes.

"As well as breaking exclusive stories, managing huge budgets, I also advised stars on PR and media-related matters."

Scotland Yard has endured repeated criticism over its handling of the original phone-hacking inquiry, which led to the conviction of News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in 2007.

The paper's former editor, Andy Coulson, resigned as Prime Minister David Cameron's director of communications in January as he admitted that the ongoing row about the affair was making his job impossible.

Days later the Met launched a fresh investigation, codenamed Weeting, after receiving "significant new information" from News International.

Last week, eight people who had made claims against the News of the World, including actress Sienna Miller and former culture secretary Tessa Jowell, received apologies from the newspaper.