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British MPs to debate hacking scandal

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British MPs to debate hacking scandal

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Britain’s opposition is ramping up the pressure on the government over a newspaper phone hacking scandal.

MPs will hold an emergency debate in parliament on Thursday over fresh claims against the prime minister’s communications chief, Andy Coulson.

The former News of the World editor has always denied that he knew about the illegal hacking of mobile phones at the paper, in a case that saw a journalist and a private detective jailed in 2007.

But there are new claims to the contrary.

Shadow Justice Secretary Jack Straw said: “Does the Deputy Prime Minister expect us to believe that the only person who knew nothing about phone-hacking at the News of the World was the editor, the very man who the Prime Minister has brought into the heart of this government?”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “What I expect, and hope he will believe, is that it is now for the police to investigate whether these new charges and allegations have anything to them.”

Nick Clegg filled in for David Cameron at today’s Prime Minister’s Question Time, as Cameron had to fly to France where his father has died on holiday.

Labour is calling for Coulson to be sacked over claims he encouraged reporters to hack voicemail messages. The police are now reviewing the case.