MPs accused News International staff of “deliberately thwarting” the investigation into News of the World’s alleged hacking activities, says a Parliamentary report.

 “We deplore the response of News International to the original investigation into hacking,” the report says

  “It is almost impossible to escape the conclusion that they were deliberately trying to thwart a criminal investigation. We are astounded at the length of time it has taken for News International to co-operate with the police.”

The report raised questions about former News of the World Editor Rebecca Brooks’ knowledge of illegal payments to corrupt police. “She did not say that she had no knowledge of specific payments but that she had not intended to give the impression that she had knowledge of specific cases,” the report said.

It also drew attention to the the fact that Brooks’s denial of knowledge of phone hacking was only "limited to her time as editor of News of the World".

The committee also came down like a ton of bricks on the police, particularly (newly resigned) former assistant Met commissioner Andy Hayman for his apparent bungling of the case and his close contact with with News International executives.

It said: "Mr Hayman’s conduct during the investigation and during our evidence session was both unprofessional and inappropriate."

Criticism was also levelled at Scotland Yard communications chief Dick Fedorico  for not properly vetting ex-News of the World executive, Neil Wallis before employing him at the Met in 2009.

The MPs report also called for extra funding to support Operation Weeting, saying it would take years to get to the bottom of all the allegations.

The report follows a dramatic day in parliament where Rupert and his son James Murdoch faced a grilling by the parliamentary select committee yesterday but denied all knowledge of phone hacking

Rebekah Brooks was similarly questioned and denied all knowledge of phone hacking.

Rupert Murdoch gets cream pie in his face during parliamentary questioning

Rebekah Brooks denies all knowledge of Milly Dowler phone hacking