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
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas