David Cameron has told MPs that “with hindsight” he would not have hired ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson.
In the closest he has come to an apology, the PM said: “Of course I regret, and I am extremely sorry, about the furore it has caused.”
Mr Coulson quit the NoW over phone hacking, saying he knew nothing about it but took ultimate responsibility.
Amid stormy Commons scenes Labour leader Ed Miliband said hiring him was a “catastrophic error of judgement”.
And the prime minister came under pressure from Labour MPs to confirm whether he had any conversations about News Corporation’s now aborted bid to fully takeover BSkyB with executives from the company such as Rebekah Brooks, Rupert or James Murdoch.
He had returned early from a trip to Africa to make an emergency statement on the phone hacking crisis – the Commons is sitting for an extra day after the prime minister delayed MPs’ summer recess so he could address the issue.
In other developments in the phone hacking saga:
Mr Cameron said the public inquiry will be widened to examine broadcasters and social media and named the panel
Speaker John Bercow launches an investigation into the foam pie incident at Rupert Murdoch’s committee hearing
The Met Police drafts in 15 extra officers to work on its investigation – taking total force numbers to 60 – citing a “significant increase” in its workload
Downing St and Buckingham Palace deny claims by Labour MP Chris Bryant that royal officials raised concerns about Mr Coulson’s appointment
The protester accused of throwing shaving foam at Mr Murdoch is charged with a public order offence.
News Corporation terminates arrangements to pay legal fees of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire “with immediate effect”
Labour MP Nick Raynsford says that, when Mr Coulson was at Downing St, the cabinet secretary was alerted to evidence of illegal phone hacking, covert surveillance and hostile media briefing against a senior government official – the cabinet secretary later denied it.
Downing St confirms that the prime minister received and responded to a letter from Labour MP Tom Watson last October, in which he raised concerns about Mr Coulson