'People' denies bugging Mellor conversations: The newspaper which linked David Mellor to an actress, finds itself in the spotlight. Andrew Gliniecki reports

AS THE dust begins to settle following allegations linking David Mellor, the Secretary of State for National Heritage, with an out-of- work actress, the behaviour of the newspaper which broke the story has been placed squarely in the spotlight.

The People, using extensive quotes, apparently from Mr Mellor himself, from what appear to be private conversations with Antonia de Sancha, was described as 'sneaky' by Geoffrey Dickens, the Tory MP. There was also speculation about whether bugging devices were used.

Bill Hagerty, the editor of the People, said: 'The story involving Mr Mellor has been obtained legitimately. This newspaper has tapped no phones. If a Cabinet minister has a relationship which even he admits is interfering with his function as a Cabinet minister . . . it is a matter of public interest.' He denied that the story was a 'kiss-and-tell buy-up'.

Today, the People's sister paper, the Daily Mirror, reports that tape recordings of telephone conversations between Ms de Sancha and Mr Mellor were made without their knowledge. It also reports that Mr Mellor used to meet Ms de Sancha at a flat belonging to Nick Philp, a friend of the actress, who is an electronic alarms expert.

Yesterday, the People said it tracked Mr Mellor to a flat in Chelsea, west London, where he met Ms de Sancha on 6 July. It was reported that he arrived at 10.58pm and left at 7.55 the next morning. A quote from Mr Mellor to Ms de Sancha in the report says: 'You have absolutely exhausted me. I feel seriously knackered. I had a wonderful time with you last night and I've felt really positive all day . . . I've got two big speeches to do tomorrow, neither of which I have prepared.'

But, if the People is to be believed, it was aware that the story would have to be highly detailed and expansive to take on a senior politician who knows how to deal with the press.

One portion of the report contains an alleged account of how Mr Mellor tutored Ms de Sancha on coping with the press. He apparently said: 'You see, what we choose to do when we're alone is a matter for us and people can only blow us away if one of us betrays the situation or if we are caught in a situation so obvious and flagrant that no denial is possible.'

Other alleged advice included: 'Now remember the golden rule is nobody needs to have a conversation with a journalist. All you have to say is, 'I'm amazed you've had the cheek to call me' or 'I don't know what you're talking about, I'm not participating in this conversation'. Bang] Put the phone down.'

Mr Mellor is also alleged to have consulted with the investigative journalist Paul Halloran on whether anything linking him with the actress would be published.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam