Ex-Met chief says Labour government knew about hacking
Following stints with Reuters and the Press Association, Martin Hickman joined The Independent as a news editor in 2001. He became the Consumer Affairs Correspondent in September 2005 and has run the paper's trenchant campaigns on packaging, bank charges and factory-farmed chicken. He writes on subjects as diverse as food, finance, energy and fashion. With Tom Watson, he is author of a new book on the phone hacking scandal, Dial M for Murdoch - News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain.
Saturday 03 March 2012
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.
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Power of Nepal earthquake was equivalent to 20 huge atomic bombs
Nepal earthquake video: Terrifying footage shows moment avalanche hit Everest Base Camp
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway