Former MP George Galloway has said he had been offered “substantial sums of money” by the News of the World after his phone was allegedly hacked.
The veteran politician is demanding damages from the newspaper after police apparently found evidence that private investigator Glenn Mulcaire had tapped his phone.
Mr Galloway told BBC1’s Politics Show: “I began a civil action for breach of privacy. I have a court date some months hence. The News of the World are busily offering me substantial sums of money.”
He said he became aware of the alleged hacking when a Metropolitan Police officer came to his office in Parliament when he was Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.
“The police were exemplary in their conduct of my case,” he said. “A very senior officer came to my then office in Parliament and told me that in the raid on Glenn Mulcaire’s premises, they had found evidence which suggested he had been hacking my telephone.”
But Mr Galloway said there were “questions that need answering” about the conduct of the Met.
“It’s odd, for example, that they came to my office to tell me but walked past the office of the Deputy Prime Minister of the day (John Prescott) and a minister, Chris Bryant, without telling them,” he said. “There seem to be questions about why they sat on evidence but did not pursue it and did not pursue additional evidence which the News of the World have now handed to them.”
Labour backbencher Barry Gardiner told the programme he believed his own phone had been hacked while he was a member of the Commons Public Accounts Committee.
“It was during that period that I had suspicions that my phone was being tapped,” he said. “There were voicemail messages that I hadn’t opened that seemed to have already been opened, the phone kept playing up. It was the only time I think I’ve ever actually felt under threat as an MP.”
Scotland Yard last week restarted its inquiry into allegations of phone hacking – the most significant development in the controversy since the News of the World’s royal editor Clive Goodman and Mulcaire were jailed at the Old Bailey in 2007 after they admitted intercepting messages by using industry codes to access voicemails.