Straw and Mandelson demand police answers


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The Independent Online

Two former Cabinet ministers have demanded the Metropolitan Police tell them whether they were targeted by Jonathan Rees.

Jack Straw and Peter Mandelson contacted police after The Independent revealed they may have fallen victim to Rees, who worked for the News of the World and Mirror Group titles.

Mr Straw, a former Home Secretary, said the first he had heard about his phone being hacked was when he read yesterday's newspapers. He had suspected he may have been targeted over what he described as the "disgraceful sting" on his teenage son William, who sold a reporter £10 worth of cannabis in 1997.

Lord Mandelson said the phone-hacking scandal had moved far beyond the wrongdoing of a single rogue reporter and hinted that previous police investigations had been inadequate. "I have contacted the Met Police today to ask them what information they may hold from current or previous investigations."

David Mellor, the former Tory Cabinet minister who warned unruly tabloids they were "drinking in the last chance saloon", said he would be instructing his lawyers to investigate the claim. "Scotland Yard have been extremely tardy investigating these allegations, perhaps because senior officers were more concerned with protecting their own relationships with News International rather than doing their duty," he said.

Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, said he knew no more than what he had read and had not spoken to Scotland Yard. "I assume that if someone's got something they will get in touch with me," he said.

The Royal Family, the former Met Police commissioner Lord Stevens and Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, made no comment.