'People' denies bugging Mellor conversations: The newspaper which linked David Mellor to an actress, finds itself in the spotlight. Andrew Gliniecki reports
Monday 20 July 1992
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.
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Striker's four-month ban for biting an opponent expires on Friday
Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Secondary Geography Teacher - Ja...
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Secondary Science Teacher Jan 20...
£24000 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The Job:Te...