Shipley MP quizzes News of the World editor

Read it in the Telegraph & Argus

The editor of the News of the World said today he had introduced "rigorous" safeguards to prevent a repeat of the phone-hacking scandal that resulted in the resignation of his predecessor.

Colin Myler told MPs, including Shipley MP Philip Davies, he had written to journalists warning them that failure to comply with the industry code of conduct or the law would result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal.

He also insisted there was no evidence of complicity with phone hacking by any News of the World employee other than former royal editor Clive Goodman.

Mr Goodman left the paper after being jailed in 2007 for involvement in the hacking of voicemails on the phones of royal aides.

The then editor, Andy Coulson, resigned. He has since become the Conservative Party's director of communications.

Mr Myler told the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee today he had introduced "rigorous new safeguards" when he took over as editor in January 2007.

He said he had emailed and written to all staff setting out the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) code of practice and data protection compliance requirements.

The "relevant clause" in staff contracts had also been re-written so that it was "emphatically stronger and broader", he said.

He said failure to comply with the PCC code would result in disciplinary proceedings and possibly summary dismissal.

Other procedures to prevent the phone hacking situation arising again included "strict protocols" and auditing of cash payments, regular training on legal issues and seminars with the PCC.

Mr Myler said cash payments for stories and tip-offs had been reduced during his editorship by between 82% and 89%.

"The News of the World continues to work with its journalists and its industry partners to ensure they fully comply with the relevant legislation and the rigorous requirements of the PCC code of practice," he told the committee.

Mr Myler also said previous comments made by former News International executive Les Hinton, that no other News of the World journalists were known to be involved in the phone hacking affair, were accurate.

"At no stage did the police arrest or question any member of the News of the World staff besides Mr Goodman," he said.

"Mr Hinton's evidence was based on what was known at the time and was entirely truthful."