The swirling cover-up of the News International scandal has continued, even after parliament shut up shop for MPs’ lengthy summer holiday.
The attempt to draw a line under the row was weakened by the news that the firm repeatedly ordered the mass deletion of hundreds of thousands of emails from its computer system in the past 18 months.
It comes as the mother of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne said she was “very distressed” after being told the phone given to her by News International may have been hacked by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.
Then-editor Rebekah Brooks said it was “unthinkable” anyone at the paper knew.
Mulcaire was jailed in 2007 after admitting to phone hacking while he was working for the paper.
He now says he “acted on the instructions of others”. In a statement, his legal team said any suggestion he acted unilaterally was “untrue”.
Stuart Kuttner, the former managing editor of the News of the World, was arrested on Tuesday. Kuttner was in charge of the paper’s finances and ran its campaign for “Sarah’s Law”.
Meanwhile, in a fit of spinelessness, the Commons committee investigating the scandal has voted to write boss James Murdoch a letter instead of recalling him.
The close links between the cabinet and Murdoch’s empire were laid bare by documents detailing almost 100 meetings since last year’s election.
Michael Gove, a former Times journalist who is now education secretary, met Rupert Murdoch six times after the election.
They met for dinner, along with then News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, days after the formation of the coalition last year. Gove and the tycoon also had dinner twice in the space of ten days a few weeks ago, on 16 June and 26 June.
And Osborne met senior News Corporation executives including Murdoch and Brooks on 16 occasions for talks and social events after taking office.
Labour leader Ed Miliband was at it too. He met News Corp executives 14 times.