Campbell is latest to ask if his messages were accessed


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Indy Politics

Alastair Campbell has become the latest political figure to write to police asking if evidence exists of his phone being hacked.

Mr Campbell was Mr Blair's spokesman throughout the period when phone interception was taking place at the News of the World. He said yesterday that he would be "amazed" if no one had tried to hack his phone.

"As this thing has developed it has become clear to people like me and an awful lot of other people that we ought to try and find out," he said. "I would be amazed if it [my phone] wasn't hacked, given what I know now." Mr Campbell added that he had not yet had a response from the Metropolitan Police, who are investigating the hacking.

Senior Conservatives had hoped that the resignation of the Downing Street director of communications, Andy Coulson – formerly the editor of the News of the World when phone-hacking was used to obtain stories – would ease the pressure.

But those hopes were ended when The Independent on Sunday revealed that Gordon Brown has asked the Metropolitan Police whether he had been the victim of phone-hacking while he was Chancellor.

Mr Brown is "very worked-up" about hacking. He possesses a long list of alleged targets and is urging other politicians on it to pursue the matter with the police.

The House of Commons could order the chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, to appear before a full sitting of the House. Such an action would be symbolic – but humiliating for the company and its chairman, Rupert Murdoch.

News of the World journalists could also be suspended from Parliament over the affair – even if the paper is not found criminally liable for the hacking. Sources in the powerful Standards and Privileges Committee said yesterday that one option open to them would be to withdraw the passes of News of the World journalists if it found the paper guilty of "contempt of Parliament" by hacking MPs' phones.

Yesterday, the committee was told that in order for either punishment to take place, the Standards and Privileges Committee would have to rule that it was in contempt of Parliament. But two senior constitutional experts said that the paper could be found guilty of contempt even if it were cleared in any criminal cases.