Ex-Met chief says Labour government knew about hacking

 

MPs last night demanded to know what Scotland Yard told the Labour government about its failed phone-hacking investigation into the News of the World six years ago.

The Metropolitan Police's former Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Peter Clarke, revealed on Thursday to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards that he had briefed John Reid, who was then the Home Secretary, about the case. Asked why the police had not notified John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, that his messages had been hacked, Mr Clarke said: "Well, it wouldn't be for me to go direct to Lord Prescott. I discussed this with the then Home Secretary Dr Reid. He was aware of the investigation."

Tony Blair's government – which maintained a close relationship with Rupert Murdoch's News International – does not appear to have demanded tougher action from the Metropolitan Police and the Press Complaints Commission against his Sunday newspaper.

Despite finding thousands of names in the notes of the NOTW's private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, the police brought charges against only Mr Mulcaire and the paper's royal editor, Clive Goodman, for hacking a total of eight people.

Seven months before the pair were jailed, the Crown Prosecution Service agreed to "ring-fence" the prosecution to exclude "sensitive" witnesses. Mr Reid last night denied receiving such a briefing: "I can categorically say that I did not receive any briefing from the Met suggesting that there was widespread hacking including MPs and the Deputy PM."

Police on the inquiry, Operation Caryatid, informed only about 30 of the hundreds of likely victims of Mr Mulcaire. Among those were, it was claimed, the ministers Tessa Jowell and David Blunkett, neither of whom took legal action against News International.

Mr Blunkett last night denied being told that he had been hacked. Ms Jowell said she had taken security advice and told there was nothing else she needed to do. Police did not inform Lord Prescott, despite him being a higher-ranking politician.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence