MP threatens to lift lid on 'enormous issues' in phone-hacking case

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The Independent Online

A Labour MP will make new claims this week about the extent of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal during a House of Commons debate which threatens to deepen the controversy engulfing Rupert Murdoch's News International.

Chris Bryant, a shadow minister who is taking legal action over an alleged failure by Scotland Yard properly to investigate the illegal eavesdropping of voicemails, said the true nature of the scandal remained unclear and raised important questions about democracy in Britain.

Mr Bryant has secured a 30-minute Commons debate on Thursday which will include a formal government response. He said: "It has become apparent that the extent of phone hacking is greater than either News Corporation or the News of the World have admitted to. Indeed, it would seem it was far more substantial than that found by the original investigation that the Metropolitan Police could be bothered to mount." The Rhondda MP said "enormous issues" had been raised by the scandal, which led to the jailing in 2007 of the private detective Glenn Mulcaire and NOTW's royal editor Clive Goodman.

A team of 45 Metropolitan Police detectives is leading a fresh investigation to determine whether Mulcaire was eavesdropping on individuals beyond the eight people he has already admitted to targeting. Mr Bryant is one of four people, along with the former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott, seeking a judicial review of the failure of the Yard to inform them that they were likely victims of Mulcaire.

"There is also the political aspect of all this," Mr Bryant added. "What was the purpose behind all this phone hacking? Ultimately, I think its purpose was murky and nefarious. It raises questions of just who runs Britain."

Last week Tom Watson, a defence minister in the last government, told the Commons he believed evidence existed implicating journalists working for The Times and The Sunday Times and said he believed The Sun printed a story that may have been based on hacked conversations. News International said it did not believe Mr Watson had evidence to support the claims.