The plot has thickened throughout the evening over the new allegations that News of the World journalists were responsible for widespread phone tapping of ministers, MPs and celebrities.

First, we had the astonishing announcement that the police would not be mounting a new investigation into The Guardian's claims that thousands of public figures - including John Prescott - had their privacy invaded.

That was followed minutes later by the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, ordering an "urgent examination" of material provided by the police three years ago.

The Met's Assistant Commissioner John Yates said police had seen no additional evidence since its last inquiry, which led to the jailing three years ago of News of the World royal reporter Clive Goodman.

But surely the fresh evidence a renewed polic inquiry should want to pursue is the startling revelation that News Group Newspapers, which publishes the News of the World, paid out more than £1m in secret deals to silence phone tapping victims.

Rupert Murdoch is not known for wasting his money and, even for a man of his means, £1m is not a trifling sum. If he is willing to flash the cash to avoid further court examinations of methods used by his journalists, something has to be wrong.

These are seriously damaging allegations against news Group in particular and the profession of journalism in general.

They also leave questions hanging over David Cameron's spin doctor Andy Coulson, who was editor of the News of the World when the alleged criminal intrusions took place.

Mr Cameron insists he's "relaxed" about the allegations but I'm willing to bet that he's anything but.

We need to get to the truth. And if the police don't see the need to pursue it, then Parliament must.

Let me know your views.