Hugh Grant 'warned George Osborne over Andy Coulson appointment'

Journalists were tipped off about celebrity crime victims before officers responded to their calls, according to actor and phone-hacking campaigner Hugh Grant.

In an interview with The Independent, Grant claimed he had ‘personal experience of reporting crimes and discovering the first person who turned up on his doorstep was a tabloid journalist”.

He told the paper:

There were little things. You knew if you ever called the police for burglary or mugging or whatever the first person to come round was not a policeman but a journalist.

For years you would think very much twice about calling the police over anything. I want Leveson to uncover the full extent of the relationship between tabloid papers and the police because I think we have only scratched the surface of that.

Meanwhile, in separate report in The Guardian, Grant claimed to have warned Chancellor George Osborne over the appointment of Andy Coulson as director of communications at No 10.

He said:

I happened to meet George Osborne at a dinner party before the election. I said: ‘I tell you what, you have made a catastrophic mistake in hiring Coulson.’ And he pooh-poohed me completely. It actually got a bit awkward and our hostess had to calm us down.

Grant know wants Cameron to explain to him he approved the appointment, adding:

I really want to know the answer: did he allow Coulson into No 10, and get involved with the Murdoch empire generally speaking, a) out of naivety b) out of reluctant pragmatism – ‘we know they are monsters but it is the only way to get into power and stay in power’ or c) out of unreluctant pragmatism, ie, this is what politicians weaned on the teeth of spin do?

If I knew – and pretty well everyone I knew, knew – that Coulson had a highly, highly questionable past, then why did not the prime minister? I find it impossible to believe that he did not know.

My fear is that they just thought: ‘For 20 or 30 years, all this stuff has been left unquestioned, so the people who run the media invasion industry have lived above the law, we are not going to attack them, so none of this stuff will ever come out.

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