News of the World
News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks told MPs today that she is not aware of any specific instances of journalists paying police officers for information, despite seeming to admit before parliament in 2003 that staff at News International had done so.

In a letter to the chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee, Brooks, who is a former editor of the News of the World and the Sun, said that she had not intended to suggest knowledge of "specific cases" while appearing before the culture, media and sport committee eight years ago.

The chair of the home affairs select committee, MP Keith Vaz, wrote to Brooks last month asserting that she had "stated that the newspaper had paid police officers for information", and asking her for more information further to her comment.

Brooks told the committee in 2003: "We have paid the police for information in the past." When asked if the news organisation would do it again in future, she said: "it depends".

In a response to his letter, received by the committee today and published online, Brooks said that at the time she was responding "to a specific line of questioning on how newspapers get information".

"My intention was simply to comment generally on the widely-held belief that payments had been made in the past to police officers.

"If, in doing so, I gave the impression that I had knowledge of any specific cases, I can assure you that this was not my intention."

Vaz had asked her for details such as the number of police paid by the Sun while she was editor, how much the police officers were paid and when the practice ceased.

His questions followed the appearance of acting deputy commissioner for the metropolitan police John Yates before the committee last month, where he confirmed that Scotland Yard's special crimes directorate is "doing some research" into Brook's 2003 admission.

But he added that the Met had not approached her at the time to investigate further, saying "it's always best to do the research first."

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