Rebekah Brooks to be charged with perverting the course of justice

The former head of News International and her husband Charlie Brooks face charges over phone-hacking

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced that Rebekah Brooks will be charged with perverting the course of justice.

This makes the former chief executive of News International the first person to face charges in Operation Weeting, the criminal investigation into phone hacking. She was initially arrested in March 2011. The inquiry, lasting over 18 months, has involved 185 police officers.

Her husband, Charlie Brooks, is also going to be charged. The racehorse trainer is a friend and former schoolmate of the Prime Minister David Cameron.

The couple, who were informed of the decision this morning when they answered bail, said:

We deplore this weak and unjust decision. After the further unprecedented posturing of the CPS we will respond later today after our return from the police station.

They will now be summoned to court to hear the formal charges against them.

The CPS said that four other people will also face charges. They are News International's head of security. Mark Hanna, Brooks’ former personal assistant, Cheryl Carter, as well as a News International chauffeur and a security consultant, who have not been named.

Rebekah and husband Charlie leaving the High Court after giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, May 11 2012. Both are to be charged with perverting the course of justice. Photograph: Getty Images

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

Getty
Show Hide image

We're running out of time to stop a hard Brexit - and the consequences are terrifying

Liam Fox has nothing to say and Labour has thrown the towel in. 

Another day goes past, and still we’re no clearer to finding out what Brexit really means. Today secretary of state for international trade, Liam Fox, was expected to use a speech to the World Trade Organisation to announce that the UK is on course to leave the EU’s single market, as reported earlier this week. But in a humiliating climb-down, he ended up saying very little at all except for vague platitudes about the UK being in favour of free trade.

At a moment when the business community is desperate for details about our future trading arrangements, the International Trade Secretary is saying one thing to the papers and another to our economic partners abroad. Not content with insulting British businesses by calling them fat and lazy, it seems Fox now wants to confuse them as well.

The Tory Government’s failure to spell out what Brexit really means is deeply damaging for our economy, jobs and global reputation. British industry is crying out for direction and for certainty about what lies ahead. Manufacturers and small businesses who rely on trade with Europe want to know whether Britain’s membership of the single market will be preserved. EU citizens living in Britain and all the UK nationals living in Europe want to know whether their right to free movement will be secured. But instead we have endless dithering from Theresa May and bitter divisions between the leading Brexiteers.

Meanwhile the Labour party appears to have thrown in the towel on Europe. This week, Labour chose not to even debate Brexit at their conference, while John McDonnell appeared to confirm he will not fight for Britain’s membership of the single market. And the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn, who hardly lifted a finger to keep us in Europe during the referendum, confirms the party is not set to change course any time soon.

That is not good enough. It’s clear a hard Brexit would hit the most deprived parts of Britain the hardest, decimating manufacturing in sectors like the car industry on which so many skilled jobs rely. The approach of the diehard eurosceptics would mean years of damaging uncertainty and barriers to trade with our biggest trading partners. While the likes of Liam Fox and boris Johnson would be busy travelling the world cobbling together trade deals from scratch, it would be communities back home who pay the price.

We are running out of time to stop a hard Brexit. Britain needs a strong, united opposition to this Tory Brexit Government, one that will fight for our membership of the single market and the jobs that depend on it. If Labour doesn’t fill this gap, the Liberal Democrats will.

Tim Farron is leader of the Liberal Democrats.