Simon Hughes sues over NOTW phone hacking


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Simon Hughes, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, has become the first Coalition MP to launch a damages claim against News International over phone hacking.

The London MP was one of eight victims who were named during the 2007 prosecution of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire but Mr Hughes, right, said he had decided to start proceedings this week to help "get to the bottom" of the scandal which led to the closure of the News of the World.

The senior Lib Dem gave an interview to The Sun in January 2006 while standing for his party's leadership, confirming that he had a homosexual relationships after he was presented with what the newspaper described as "pretty incontrovertible" evidence that he used a gay chatline. There is no evidence the article was based on intercepted voicemails.

It is understood that Mr Hughes' claim relates to a period after the publication of that story between February and March 2006 when Mr Mulcaire, who was paid £105,000 a year by the NOTW for "research and information services", accessed his voicemails on eight occasions after obtaining the MP's PIN code.

In a statement, Mr Hughes, 60, said: "It is important now that all those who were clearly the subject of criminal activity help to get to the bottom of what happened during this dark period in British journalism."

Mr Hughes joins a growing list of public figures seeking damages against Rupert Murdoch's company, whose claims are likely to cost the magnate at least £20m.

The MP's claim was revealed shortly after Greg Miskiw, a former News of the World executive, was released yesterday on police bail following his arrest on suspicion of phone hacking and conspiracy to intercept voicemails.