MPs' phone-hacking report delayed as Rebekah Brooks called to give evidence

News International chief executive asked to speak in front of select committee looking into allegations against News of the World

The publication of a parliamentary report into alleged phone-hacking at Rupert Murdoch's Sunday tabloid the News of the World has been delayed until next year.

MPs on the Commons culture, media and sport select committee want to hear evidence from Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News International, the paper's parent company, before making their findings public, a spokeswoman said.

A source close to the committee said some MPs felt the evidence given by other News International executives earlier this year was "unsatisfactory".

Brooks, a former editor of the News of the World and the Sun, took up her current role in September. It is unclear when she will give evidence, although it is understood that she has already made a written submission to the committee.

Culture select committee MPs decided to call Brooks following a meeting today. They also voted to delay the publication of the report, which is expected to be critical of News International, until 2010 to give them time to hear her evidence. The report was originally due to appear before Christmas.

The select committee reopened an earlier inquiry into press standards, privacy and libel, in July following the Guardian's revelations that News International had reached out-of-court settlements with three people whose mobiles phones had been targeted by investigators on behalf of the News of the World. One of them, Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballer's Association, received £700,000.

MPs on the committee originally looked into allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World in 2007 after Clive Goodman, the paper's former royal correspondent, received a four-month jail sentence after being convicted of intercepting phone messages in January that year. Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective on the paper's payroll, was also sent to prison.

News International has always argued that Goodman and Mulcaire were acting alone. The Guardian has claimed that phone hacking at the paper was more widespread than News International executives have admitted.

MPs have already heard from Andy Coulson, the Conservative party's Communications director, who was News of the World editor when Goodman and Mulcaire were arrested. He resigned when the two men were sentenced in January 2007.

The paper's current editor Colin Myler also gave evidence in July. Les Hinton, chairman of News International when the offences took place and now chief executive of New York-based Dow Jones, told the committee via a satellite link in September that he could not recall key details about the Goodman case, or the pay-offs made by News International to the former royal reporter and Mulcaire.

Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian editor, also gave evidence to the committee in July along with Nick Davies, the reporter who broke the story about payments to Taylor and two others.

Davies presented MPs with an email sent to a senior News of the World executive by a junior reporter at the paper, who had been asked to transcribe voicemail messages recorded by Mulcaire. It referred to a transcript "for Neville". "Neville" is understood to be Neville Thurlbeck, the paper's chief reporter, Davies told the committee.

The Press Complaints Commission also reopened its own inquiry into phone hacking in the wake of the Guardian's revelations. It concluded last month that it had not been "materially mislead" by News International. Rusbridger subsequently resigned from the PCC's code committee.

News International declined to comment. John Whittingdale, the Conservative MP and former shadow media spokesman who chairs the culture select committee, had not responded to a request for comment by the time of publication.

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James Robinson

The GuardianTramp

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