The Guardian reports:
Rebekah Brooks has been arrested by police investigating allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World and allegations that police officers were bribed to leak sensitive information.
The Metropolitan police said a 43-year-old woman was arrested at noon on Sunday, by appointment at a London police station.
Brooks, 43, resigned on Friday as News International’s chief executive. She is a former News of the World editor and was close to Rupert Murdoch and the prime minister, David Cameron.
Brooks was due to give evidence before MPs on the culture select committee on Tuesday.
An arrest by appointment on a Sunday by police is unusual.
Unusual because the police generally only schedule appointments for arrest during regular business hours, or because most people getting arrested aren’t offered an opportunity to schedule their arrest in advance?
Apparently Brooks was notified about her impending arrest on Friday. Maybe she had a dinner party she needed to attend yesterday evening and so couldn’t turn herself in until today.
Her PR spokesman said: “Rebekah is assisting the police with their enquiries. She attended a London police station voluntarily.” And if she hadn’t volunteered?
Meanwhile, The Independent on Sunday reports:
The MP who will lead the attack on Rebekah Brooks and Rupert and James Murdoch this week over their roles in the phone-hacking scandal has close links with the media empire, it is revealed today.
John Whittingdale, the Conservative chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport committee, admitted he was an old friend of Mr Murdoch’s close aide, Les Hinton, and had been for dinner with Ms Brooks.
The Independent on Sunday has also learnt that Mr Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth, seen as the future saviour of the company, has also met Mr Whittingdale a number of times. Among her 386 “friends” on Facebook, the only MP she lists is Mr Whittingdale. He is also the only MP among 93 Facebook “friends” of Mr Hinton.
The Guardian’s Matt Wells adds:
The arrest of Rebekah Brooks in relation to phone hacking and corruption drags News Corporation deeper into crisis.
It must surely mean that the police investigation is edging closer to James Murdoch, who has been head of all News Corporation’s businesses in Europe and Asia since 2007. He personally approved payments to civil litigants against the News of the World in settlement of their cases – deals that involved gagging clauses that appears to have prevented them discussing potential criminal activity in public.
There are two other important things to note from the arrest of Brooks. It is a personal blow for Rupert Murdoch, who had invested so much in the career of Brooks, promoting her though the Wapping ranks at lightening speed and describing her as the “daughter he never had.” (he actually has four).
It must also set nerves on edge in Downing Street – only on Friday, it was revealed that David Cameron had hosted Brooks twice at Chequers, the only guest to be granted a second visit in his premiership. They also met socially over Christmas.