Rebekah Brooks not in charge of inquiry

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The Independent Online

News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks confirmed today she is not in charge of the company's investigation into alleged phone hacking.

In a letter to all staff, she also pledged to find as many News of the World staff jobs within the firm, and told them they would be paid for three months.

Ms Brooks said: "People have asked if it is right for me, as CEO of News International and as the editor of the News of the World until January 2003, to oversee our efforts to assess allegations, address serious issues and prevent them from happening again. I'm determined that News International does this.

"For the avoidance of any doubt, however, the News Corporation independent directors agree with James Murdoch's recommendation that the management and standards committee, comprised of Will Lewis, Simon Greenberg and Jeff Palker, report directly to Joel Klein in New York.

"Joel is leading and directing the company's overall handling of this matter."

Paying tribute to the "hugely talented, dedicated and professional" team at the News of the World, she said they should feel proud of their achievements.

Ms Brooks said that no decisions have yet been made about new publications or expanding existing ones, but that Fabulous magazine will be retained.

She met with NOTW staff today to try to reassure them about what will happen next. Her letter said: "I would like to address several additional points relating to the ongoing police inquiries and my role.

"News International is not leading an investigation into itself because that could interfere with the work of the Metropolitan Police. What we are doing is assisting the police, who are entirely independent, with their work.

"We are all clear about one thing: the police will follow the evidence no matter where it takes them. The strongest action will be taken whenever wrongdoing is proven."

David Cameron today announced sweeping changes to the way that newspapers are regulated, and has already said an inquiry into phone hacking will be led by a judge.

Ms Brooks said: "As a company we welcome the Prime Minister's calls for broad public inquiries into media standards and police practices. We are working hard to put our own house in order and do the right thing. Change and accountability will come through co-operating with criminal and civil inquiries and respecting due process during the tough times ahead.

"For this week, however, the News of the World staff have the toughest and most important job of all. I know they will produce a final issue that will make us all proud."