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Before the hearing, opposition Labour Party legislators called for the resignation of John Yates, assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, who decided in 2009 that there was nothing more to investigate at the paper. Yates says he relied on advice from colleagues.

Yates said News of the World and News International had not cooperated with investigators.

“In hindsight, had I known what I should have known, it was a poor decision,” he said.

Ian Blair, the head of the Metropolitan Police from 2005 to 2008, told legislators that phone hacking by newspapers “was never a major issue in my time.”

“It was a tiny fragmentary event in the events that were taking place across London at the time,” Blair said, as police were focused on the fight against terrorism.

In 2007, a reporter and a private detective working for News of the World were sent to prison for hacking the voicemail messages of royal family employees.

The scandal has also raised fresh questions about Cameron’s judgment because he hired former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as his communications chief.

Coulson, who had resigned from the newspaper in 2007 because of the hacking convictions, was arrested by police last week as part of the new investigation.