Home Secretary Theresa May was asked today to confirm if former Prime Minister Tony Blair has asked Scotland Yard whether his mobile phone was one of those targeted by people working for the News of the World.
It was one of a series of questions raised in the House of Commons about the phone-hacking scandal at the paper. Specifically, Labour MPs wanted to know whether the original investigation into phone hacking at the paper was sufficiently thorough.
Questions also focused on whether Downing Street head of communications – and former NoW editor – Andy Coulson has been honest in his assertion that he knew nothing about the interception of phone messages when he was editor.
The paper’s royal editor Clive Goodman and investigator for the paper Glenn Mulcaire were both jailed in January 2007 for intercepting the mobile phone messages of royal aides and others.
The matter has come back into the spotlight following a New York Times report last week highlighting fresh allegations that phone-hacking was more widespread at the NoW than has previously been admitted.
During the Commons debate, Labour MP Tom Watson asked May to clarify how many were on Mulcaire’s ‘target list’of people to bug.
He also asked how the Metropolitan Police decided on the small sample of names which made up its 2006 investigation into the affair.
He added: ‘Can she confirm that former Prime Minister Tony Blair has formally asked Scotland Yard whether his phone was hacked?
‘The integrity of our democracy is under scrutiny around the world. The home secretary must not join the conspiracy to make it a laughing stock.”
May said there are only ‘allegations’in the New York Times piece. She said: ‘The Metropolitan Police have made it clear that if there’s fresh evidence then they will consider itâ€¦This Government takes the view that it is for the Metropolitan Police to decide what the correct course of action is.”
Shadow home secretary Alan Johnson urged May to ‘subject the action of the Met Police in this case to greater scrutiny in the light of the revelations from the New York Times”.
And Labour MP Frank Dobson said he thought there had been ‘distinct lack of zeal’on the part of the Met Police into looking into new allegations that MPs’ phones were targeted as part of the 2006 phone-hacking scandal.
Labour MP Chris Bryant told the House that he had written to the Met Police to find if he was ‘person of interest’to Mulcaire and said that, after being told that he was – he had then found out from his phone company that his mobile had been ‘interfered with”.
He said: ‘I told the police this months ago and they have done absolutely nothing about it.’According to Bryant, it may turn out that dozens of MPs were among those targeted by Mulcaire.