Police urged to reopen hack probe


Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman said police must investigate allegations of phone-hacking by journalists

Scotland Yard is under intense pressure to reopen its investigation into phone hacking by journalists amid claims that Gordon Brown may have been among the victims.

Senior politicians from both Government and opposition combined to demand that police investigate fully the latest allegations that the mobile phones of prominent public figures had been illegally targeted.

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman said the law must be enforced while the Lib Dem Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said it was “implausible” to claim the practice was confined to “one rogue reporter” at the News of the World.

Their comments came as it was reported that Mr Brown had written to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner expressing concern that his voicemail messages may have been broken into.

The former prime minister is the most senior public figure to be drawn into the controversy, which last week saw Andy Coulson resign as David Cameron’s director of communications amid continuing allegations of phone hacking by reporters at the News of the World when he was editor of the paper.

Mr Brown’s office would not comment on the reports, while Scotland Yard also declined to respond to the latest allegations. However Ms Harman said that the police had a clear duty to uphold the law.

“Hacking into people’s phones is illegal. Obviously the criminal law has got to be complied with and if it is broken then it should be investigated by the police and it should be enforced,” she told Sky News’s Murnaghan programme. “Nobody is above the law, no newspaper editor, no journalist.”

Mr Huhne said that it was clear that the practice extended far beyond the News of the World’s former royal correspondent Clive Goodman, who was jailed in 2007 along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

“Why would the royal correspondent be interested in hacking the voicemails of (Lib Dem deputy leader) Simon Hughes for example?” he told the BBC1 Politics Show.

“It is very clearly important for Sir Paul Stephenson, having now taken control of the Met to make sure that, along with the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) this is really dealt with. I have worked on a newspaper and I have been a journalist and it does seem to me totally implausible that this was a situation where it was limited to one journalist. I was rather surprised that the police seem to have accepted that story rather than investigating further.”

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