Murdoch group pays £1m over 'phone hacks'
Updated on 08 July 2009
The Guardian is reporting that two to three thousand public figures had their phones hacked into by the News of the World. Secret out of court settlements have so far reached a £1m.
The Guardian newspaper is reporting tonight that two to three thousand people - politicians, actors, footballers and more - had their phones illegally hacked into by the News of the World.
Secret out of court settlements have so far reached a million pounds.
Tonight John Prescott, one of those whose phone they say was hacked into, tells us he's outraged the police have taken no action.
He's also called for the News of the World editor at the time, Andy Coulson, to be sacked from his present post as David Cameron's communications chief.
News International has always said it has no knowledge of phone hacking by anyone acting on its behalf. We have asked the News of the World for a statement, but haven't yet received one. We've also asked the Metropolitan Police for a comment. They've not yet replied.
John Prescott's mobile phone was reported to have been one of those hacked into, Jon Snow spoke to him on the phone from Cumbria and asked him if the police or anyone else had told him his phone had been tapped?
"Absolutely not. I find it staggering that there could be a list known to the police of people known to have their phone tapped, I am named as one of them, for such a criminal act not to be reported to me and not for action to be taken against he people who've done it reflects very badly upon the police and I want to know their answer.
"I'm not surprised that News International are into this. I think Andy Coulson was editor at the time in the News of the World and moved on from the job while the reporter went to jail. And in that case they admitted to tapping phones. "
"I find it absolutely staggering that Andy Coulson can go to be the communication officer for the Tory party … surely Andy Colson can not be the man who's been supervising over all this activity as the editor in charge of the paper and still stay in that job. "
"I hope Mr Cameron will clear him out."
Whittingdale: "We will want to discuss the allegations urgently"
John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons culture select committee, told Jon Snow that he was concerned by the allegations and that the committee would want to "ask News International about the payments".
"My committee put out an enquiry immediately after it was revealed that Clive Goodman had been using an investigator to break the law…but we were given an absolute assurance by News International, by the chairman of the company, that no other journalist at News of the World had any knowledge.
"The fact that other people had their phones tapped I think was known…the question is whether or not any other journalist knew - if this was the case it does beg the question why only Clive Goodman was prosecuted.
"Illegally intercepting private communications is against the law and one would have expected prosecutions to follow… I have not seen any other evidence that any other journalist knew but what we have seen is apparently a very large payment being made by News International and certainly I would want to ask why that was the case.
"The committee will want to discuss [the allegations] very urgently - if we decide there are further questions to ask then we would summon back witnesses and ask those questions."
In response to whether he was concerned by Andy Coulson's appointment as communications officer for the Conservative party Mr Whittingdale said:
"Andy Coulson gave his absolute assurance that he had no knowledge as editor.
"He did step down but he did say because he took responsibility as the editor - as far as I am aware it remains that he did have no knowledge and therefore we accept that."