Murdoch expected in wake of arrests

Rupert Murdoch is expected to fly to London next week after reassuring staff he would not sell The Sun in the wake of a second wave of arrests at the newspaper.

Five senior journalists were among eight people arrested over allegations of improper payments to police and public officials.

It is expected Mr Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, will visit staff in London towards the end of the week to deal with the latest crisis to rock one of his British newspapers.

A serving officer in Surrey Police, a Ministry of Defence employee and a serving officer in the Armed Forces were also detained by officers from Operation Elveden. The operation has widened to include suspected corruption involving public officials as well as police officers.

Operation Elveden - which runs alongside the Met's Operation Weeting team - was launched as the phone-hacking scandal erupted last July with allegations about the now-defunct News of the World targeting Milly Dowler's mobile phone.

The arrests of deputy editor Geoff Webster, picture editor John Edwards, chief reporter John Kay, chief foreign correspondent Nick Parker, and John Sturgis, who is a news editor, sparked speculation that the red top would go the same way as its now-defunct sister title, News of the World.

They follow the arrests two weeks ago of four current and former Sun employees, as well as a police officer.

However, a leaked memo from Tom Mockridge, chief executive of News International - part of News Corp - to staff said that Mr Murdoch had personally assured him of his "total commitment to continue to own and publish" the paper.

Mr Mockridge also said he had written to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to seek clarification about independent oversight of the police investigation. An IPCC spokesman said: "We await receipt of any letter, and will respond appropriately."

The Sun editor Dominic Mohan said he was shocked by the developments but would focus on putting out Monday's edition. He said: "I'm as shocked as anyone by today's arrests but am determined to lead The Sun through these difficult times. I have a brilliant staff and we have a duty to serve our readers and will continue to do that."