Prescott accused of 'ranting' over phone hacking

Lord Prescott was accused of "ranting" and wasting public money today after he said he would seek a judicial review into the News of the World phone-hacking row.



The Scotland Yard officer who oversaw the investigation into the affair launched a scathing attack on the former deputy prime minister, branding him "nothing special".



The peer announced this morning that he would ask the courts to examine the Metropolitan Police's handling of the case after the force refused to provide all the information it held relating to him.



Shadow foreign office minister Chris Bryant, ex-Met deputy assistant commissioner Brian Paddick and journalist Brendan Montague have also issued judicial review proceedings.



In a statement on his website, Lord Prescott said: "It has always been my intention to discover the truth behind this case and whether the Metropolitan Police fulfilled its duty to follow all the lines of evidence.



"It is my belief they didn't and I hope the judicial review will finally reveal why justice not only wasn't done but wasn't seen to be done."



Lord Prescott said he was asking the courts to declare that his human rights had been breached, and order the Met to disclose fully any information relating to his personal details.



The peer is also seeking damages, which he said would be given to charity.



Lord Prescott's spokesman said his application was separate to the other bid, but could be linked by the courts in due course.



The News of the World's ex-royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed in 2007 after accessing the voicemails of public figures.



The row was reignited earlier this month when another of the newspaper's former reporters, Sean Hoare, claimed that editor Andy Coulson - now the Downing Street communications chief - had asked him to hack into messages.



Mr Hoare was interviewed by detectives this week to establish whether he has any new evidence.



Mr Coulson has repeatedly denied any knowledge of such activities.



Speaking on Nick Ferrari's radio show on LBC 97.3 today, former Met assistant commissioner Andy Hayman, who oversaw the original phone-hacking investigation, dismissed the chances of a judicial review finding anything new.



"We have to get real over this. This is just another episode of Lord Prescott's rants," he said.



"You know, he's nothing special, he was on a list, along with lots of other celebrities and well-known people, held by a journalist - and that's no different to a contact list that's being held by any other journalist, come to that.



"Now if - and it's been reviewed - if I have proved to be wrong, then I'll eat my words and face the music.



"But my understanding is, there is absolutely no evidence from that initial investigation of his phone being hacked, so why he thinks he is anything special, I do not know.



"I don't believe that a judicial review will reveal anything more than what has already been reviewed by my successor, also by the Crown Prosecution Service and by other bodies.



"It could actually end up being a waste of public money and only ever putting Lord Prescott on a bigger platform."



Westminster's sleaze watchdog is consulting parliamentary and legal experts on whether hacking MPs' phones is a "contempt of parliament" after MPs voted to refer allegations to the Standards and Privileges Committee.

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