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One of Brooks's assistant editors, Paul Mc Mullan, told the Guardian last year that he personally had commissioned several hundred acts that could be regarded as unlawful - but which senior editors were aware of.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: 'Everyone across the country will be deeply disturbed and horrified at this shocking news.
News International has reportedly set aside a multi-million pound fund to settle compensation claims with victims.
He told BBC Radio Four this morning: 'My wife and I were kind of all over the place and we were chatting to friends on the phone, in a very personal and in a deeply emotional context and the thought that someone might have been listening to that just looking for a cheap headline is just horrendous.'The BBC claimed that the file shows the payments were approved by Andy Coulson, the former editor of the Sunday tabloid who went on to become David Cameron's director of communications in Downing Street.Our lawyers have also written to their solicitor Mark Lewis to ask him to show us any of the evidence he has so we can swiftly take the appropriate action. I am determined that News International does everything it can to co-operate fully and pro-actively with the MPS, as we have been doing for some time, to verify the facts so we can respond in a robust and proper way. Therefore it is important you all know that as chief executive, I am determined to lead the company to ensure we do the right thing and resolve these serious issues.Former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott said on Twitter that he would be writing to the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, demanding he block News Corp's bid to take full control of BSky B following the revelations.At Commons question time, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman: 'I'm sure we both speak on behalf of the whole House and the rest of the country in saying that if these allegations are true, this behaviour is simply beneath contempt.'To hack into the phone of a missing child is grotesque and the suggestion that that might have given false hope to Milly's parents that she might have been alive only makes it all the more heart-rending.'While Ms Brooks was in the editor's chair, the News of the World also regularly hired Steve Whittamore, who ran a network of specialists who stole information from British Telecom, mobile phone companies and the DVLA.Records published by the Information Commissioner's Office show that 23 journalists from the News of the World hired Whittamore a total of 228 times (including for the purchase of addresses and ex-directory numbers relating to Milly Dowler's disappearance).