Renewed speculation on News International plans to launch a new Sunday tabloid
There was renewed speculation at the weekend that News International is preparing to a launch a Sun on Sunday to replace the now-defunct News of the World.
The reports, including a story in The Scotsman, said that staff had already begun work on the tabloid which would go on sale on April 29 at a discounted price.
The Scotsman reports: “Rumours of a small team of designers and editors working on new dummy template Sunday publications first emerged about a month after the closure of the News of the World.
“The Sun’s editorial staff appeared to increase by about 60, with many former management staff in duplicate roles but with different job titles.”
The paper said development was shelved in the summer as Rupert Murdoch told a committee of MPs that the publisher had “no immediate plans” for a launch.
The Scotsman highlighted a tweet from Labour MP Tom Watson, who sits on the Commons culture, media and sports committee, which claimed: ‘A News Corps source tells me Rupert Murdoch has seen the draft designs of the Sunday Sun with a launch in April at a discounted price’.
News International is quoted as declining to comment on the renewed speculation.
Meanwhile, four current and former journalists for The Sun, alongwith a police offer, have been arrested on Saturday by detectives investigating payments made by the media to police.
An internal email from Tom Mockridge, the chief executive of The Sun’s owner, News International, said: “This morning [Saturday] four of our colleagues were arrested by the Metropolitan police service in relation to Operation Elveden. I understand that the arrests resulted from information provided to the Metropolitan Police Service by News Corporation's Management and Standards Committee.
“We believe that those arrested are currently being questioned by the police and we must take care not to pre-judge the outcome of the police interviews. The company has provided legal support to those interviewed today. The police are also conducting a limited search at The Sun's offices, supervised by the MSC's lawyers.
"News International is confronting past mistakes and is making fundamental changes about how we operate which are essential for our business. As you know, the MSC is leading an internal investigation into our three remaining titles. While this is ongoing, it is well advanced with regards to The Sun.
“Despite this very difficult news, we are determined that News International will emerge a stronger and more trusted organisation.
“We must all support Dominic [Mohan, editor of The Sun] who will be leading his staff to deliver, as always, a great paper for Monday and going forward.
“Thank you for your professionalism and commitment as we deal with these issues.”
All five men were released on bail on Saturday evening.