Rebekah Brooks

Rebekah Brooks, who has had her resignation accepted this moning

Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA

Rebekah Brooks has resigned as chief executive of News International, the company has confirmed.

In a statement sent to staff this morning, former News of the World editor Brooks said she had become a "focal point" of the debate and was "detracting attention from all our honest endeavours to fix the problems of the past".

She also said that she felt a "deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt" and wanted to "reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place".

"I have believed that the right and responsible action has been to lead us through the heat of the crisis. However my desire to remain on the bridge has made me a focal point of the debate.

"This is now detracting attention from all our honest endeavours to fix the problems of the past. Therefore I have given Rupert and James Murdoch my resignation. While it has been a subject of discussion, this time my resignation has been accepted."

Brooks' resignation was widely called for last week when around 280 staff were made redundant by the closure of the News of the World. Labour leader Ed Miliband said last week in the House of Commons that she should take responsibility over the mounting allegations of criminality at the News of the World during her editorship and resign.

Miliband said today: "It is right that Rebekah Brooks has finally taken responsibility for the terrible events that happened on her watch, like the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone.

"No one in this country should exercise power without responsibility."

James Murdoch, who is chairman of News Corp International, said: "She has been one of the outstanding editors of her generation and she can be proud of many accomplishments as an executive.

"I understand her decision and I want to thank her for her 22 years of service to the Company."

Along with James Murdoch and his father and chairman of News Corp Rupert, Brooks is due to give evidence before the culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday. In her statement this morning, She said that her resignation would give her "the freedom and the time to give my full cooperation to all the current and future inquiries, the police investigations and the culture, media and sport select committee appearance."

Brooks has been replaced by Tom Mockridge, who joins News International from Sky Italia, where he has been chief executive officer since its launch in 2003.

James Murdoch praised Mockridge, who he called an "outstanding executive with unrivalled experience across our journalism and television businesses".

Prior to joining Sky Italia, Mockridge was chief executive of the New Zealand's Independent Newspapers and chairman of Sky New Zealand. He previously held roles at Star Group Limited and spent three years as chief executive officer of Foxtel, News Corporation's Australian pay TV joint venture.

Her resignation follows the arrest yesterday of former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis, the ninth arrest by detectives investigating the scandal. Former editor Andy Coulson was also arrested last week.

The fallout from the phone-hacking scandal has now spread to the US with news that the FBI has launched an inquiry into allegations that the tabloid hacked the phones of victims of the 9/11 attacks.

On Tuesday News Corp dramatically withdrew its battered bid to take full control of BSkyB, which faced a motion in the House of Commons calling for the company to do so. It was announced prior to the vote that all three parties intended to support the Labour motion.

James Murdoch announced in a statement today that News International will run advertisements in all national newspapers this weekend to "apologise to the nation for what has happened".

Murdoch acknowledged that the company "has made mistakes" but claimed it is now "receiving appropriate scrutiny" as well as "responding to unfair attacks by setting the record straight".

News Corps share price fell dramatically yesterday after news that the FBI intended to launch an investigation into the 9/11 allegations. It has fallen almost 11 per cent over the past five days, closing at $15.99 yesterday.

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