Assistant Commissioner John Yates

wo current and two former Metropolitan Police officers will be quizzed by MPs in public later about inquiries into phone-hacking at the News of the World. Assistant Commissioner John Yates, Andy Hayman and Peter Clarke will appear before the Home Affairs Committee.

MPs are expected to ask them why the initial investigation, started in 2005, failed to uncover evidence of hacking of crime victims' voicemail messages. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers will also appear before the committee. She is leading the current investigation into phone-hacking, Operation Weeting.

Inquiry scope

Detectives are in the process of contacting nearly 4,000 people whose personal details were stored by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire. The committee is expected to ask former Assistant Commissioners Mr Hayman and Mr Clarke, the officers who supervised the original police inquiry, why that information was apparently overlooked.

MPs want to know if the decision to close the investigation after Mulcaire and former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman were jailed in 2007 for phone-hacking was influenced by Scotland Yard's desire to maintain good relations with News International. Assistant Commissioner Yates refused to re-open the inquiry in 2009.

He has said the scope of the first inquiry was restricted because of legal advice from prosecutors, lack of co-operation from those at the newspaper and the need to target resources towards counter-terrorism. Victims of crime who had their voicemail messages hacked into include murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

'Blagging' report

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron's former press secretary George Eustice has said he does not have confidence in Assistant Commissioner Yates. Conservative MP Mr Eustice told BBC Two's Newsnight programme that the senior officer's position was "not good".

On Monday, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was said to be "shocked" after it was alleged the Sunday Times targeted his personal information when he was chancellor. Documents and a phone recording suggest "blagging" was used to obtain private financial and property details.

The blagging reports concern alleged attempts by someone said to be acting for the Sunday Times who posed as Mr Brown and obtained details of his Abbey National account in January 2000. Mr Brown and his wife Sarah also fear medical records relating to their son Fraser, whom the Sun revealed in 2006 had cystic fibrosis, may have been obtained. News International, which publishes the Sunday Times and the Sun, said it would investigate the claims.

Judicial inquiry

Blagging, or "knowingly or recklessly obtaining or disclosing personal data or information without the consent of the data controller" has been illegal since 1994. Addressing MPs in the the Commons, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt described blagging as an "awful" practice. He said the judge-led inquiry into phone-hacking would look at all illegal methods newspapers may have used in the past to obtain information.

Evidence has been found suggesting a News of the World reporter tried to buy a phone book containing numbers of the Royal Family. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall may have also been targets of phone-hacking conducted at the News of the World, according to the Guardian.

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