Paul Staines at Leveson inquiry

Paul Staines: 'Two journalists have told me' Tina Weaver 'personally authorised and told them to hack'

Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver "personally authorised" phone-hacking and blagging at the title, political blogger Paul Staines claimed at the Leveson inquiry today.

Staines, the Guido Fawkes blogger, told the inquiry that he had been informed by two journalists that they had been told to "hack" and "blag" – although he did not present any further evidence to the inquiry to support the claim.

He said: "Tina Weaver, somebody who two journalists have told me has personally authorised and told them to hack, blag and do all that kind of stuff, sits on not just the PCC, but on the ethics committee, the editorial standards committee."

He added: "She knows all the bad things that have gone on under her rule. It's ridiculous."

Giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry in December, Weaver said she was not aware of phone hacking at the Sunday Mirror, but she said she was not in a position to guarantee that it did not take place.

Asked about his remarks again, later in the hearing, Staines replied: "If on the blog I have said that journalists have told me that they were told by Miss Weaver to spin a phone then that's what it is."

Staines said he had been approached by Lord Hunt about joining a new "kitemark" industry regulatory body.

"I don't think that's a road I want to go down," he said. "If I joined a regulatory body, I'm going to find myself in a situation where I am going to have to self-censor and I don't want to do that.

"I don't think there are many publishers around now, not even Private Eye, who are still politically incorrect in the way that we are."

Staines also warned that a tightening up of media regulation in the UK could force companies to move abroad.

"You can see a situation now where countries like Sweden and Ireland are pushing the fact that they have a [favourable] regulatory environment. Britain will be at a competitive disadvantage."

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