Peter MacDiarmid/PA David Cameron

David Cameron during the news conference

Credit: Peter MacDiarmid/PA

Two separate inquiries will be launched to investigate the phone hacking scandal and the "culture, ethics and practices of the British press", the prime minister announced this morning.

Speaking in a press conference David Cameron said he was "champing at the bit" to get the inquiries in motion, describing the original police investigation as "inadequate" and calling for a new system of self regulation.

The first public inquiry as announced today, will be led by a judge and will look into issues such as why the original police investigation failed, what was going on at the News of the World and what was going on at other papers.

He told journalists witnesses will be questioned under oath and that "no stone will be left unturned".

"Everything that happened is going to be investigated," he said.

He added that the second inquiry into the behaviour of the British press as a whole can take place almost immediately, which he hopes to start this summer.

"It will be conducted by a panel of figures from a range of backgrounds. It must be truly independent."

The panel will also be tasked with making recommendations for the future, with Cameron adding that while it is vital the press remains free it "should not be above the law".

When asked about yesterday's announcement that the News of the World was to close following a final edition this weekend Cameron said the issue is "not the paper, it's the practices".

"In the end we need a free press that is also clean and trustworthy," he added.

"That is what people want, that is what I want and I will not rest until I get it."

During the conference Cameron was also asked about his decision to employ former editor of the News of the World Andy Coulson as his director of communications, a job he later resigned from.

According to the BBC Coulson is expected to be questioned later today at a London police station. Scotland Yard could not confirm this to at the time of writing.

"I decided to give him a second chance but the second chance didn't work. The decision to hire him was mine and mine alone," Cameron said.

"I'm not hiding from the decision I made," he added. "He said he didn't know what was happening and I though it was right to give him a second chance ... People will make their own judgement."

He said at the time of hiring Coulson he sought specific assurances in a series of conversations with Coulson following his resignation from the News of the World.

"I think the point about how can people actually know is a good one because the truth is I asked for assurances, he gave me assurances, frankly as we stand today with this police investigation underway we certainly don't know who at News International knew what about what.

"That has to take place and then we will see whether people will be prosecuted. All I can say is what I did, the decision I took, the fact in opposition he did his job in an extremely respectable way.

"But in the end he found the second chance didn't work because of his need to resign the first time, he had to do that all over again."

Cameron's announcement follows a week of controversy beginning with the revelation that Milly Dowler's phone was hacked, followed by reports that private investigators were paid to access the voicemails of the families of 7/7 bombings victims and the Royal British Legion announcing it was severing ties with the tabloid as a campaign partner.

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