Phone-hacking: Alastair Campbell contacts Met over NoW suspicions
Former communications director says a NoW photographer attended a meeting arranged only in phone calls
Alastair Campbell has written to the Metropolitan police to say he suspects his phone was hacked by the News of the World while he was advising Tony Blair's government.As the Commons home affairs select committee announced it is to publish a list of victims of alleged phone hacking, Blair's former communications director said his lawyers had contacted the Met with details of a specific incident.
Campbell believes his phone was hacked shortly after he left Downing Street in 2003 when he advised a senior member of Blair's cabinet. A News of the World photographer was waiting outside Campbell's house when the minister arrived for a meeting which had been arranged in mobile phone calls and text messages without reference to civil servants.
Campbell said: "Phone hacking is more widespread than people realise and was carried out by many more newspapers."That is why it is not being pursued by most of the press. Just as John Prescott has been pursuing it, I intend to get to the bottom of it."
The intervention by Campbell came as Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the home affairs select committee, said he would be publishing a list of people whose phones were allegedly hacked.
Vaz told the London Evening Standard: "The committee has received written evidence from a number of people who are very concerned that they were being hacked and we will be publishing that information shortly. This is a very serious matter and it is all taking far too long. These are not recent events; they are events that happened several years ago, for which there have been convictions, and we need to have a timescale."
Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, a former law lord, told the standards and privileges committee today that newspapers may have been in contempt of parliament by hacking MPs' phones. The committee has been asked by MPs to assess whether the News of the World is in contempt of parliament amid allegations that it may have hacked the phones of Prescott and the former Europe minister Chris Bryant.
Nicholls told the committee: "The nature of contempt is improper interference with the rights and duties of members [MPs]. It is interference with parliament. It is in the public interest that parliament should not be interfered with. The means by which that interference takes place may of course be the treatment of an individual member outside.
"I would think it is most undesirable that the situation should arise where there has been such interference but because the police decide to take no action there is nothing the house can do. Of course the house has got to be very cautious. But in principle it seems to me contrary to the public interest in a very serious way that there could be interference with the conduct of the business of the house and yet the house could do nothing about it.
"There does not seem to be an effective remedy. Ten years ago the joint committee [made a suggestion] that should lead to the conclusion that there should be statute making these things crystal clear and no doubt providing an adequate remedy in the situation I have just described."