The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

This needs to be put in a context and I thought I'd done some of it the other day and I'd like to amplify it, I'm grateful for the time.

First of all, let's go back to that first day of the Inquiry. It was an extraordinary occasion, an extraordinary day. There's never been an inquiry like this before, it was being televised, it was being beamed around the world. It was a unique occasion.

Mr Grant, the poster boy for Hacked Off, is giving evidence on the first day, an international film star. He makes his allegation. It wasn't an innocent piece of evidence; it had been drawn out of him by the Inquiry. He makes it. He hadn't included it in his witness statement. He knew, I would suggest, the damage it would cause.

After all, allegations of phone hacking have closed down a newspaper and has resulted in the loss of work by hundreds and hundreds of journalists. It was explosive and it was toxic and he, as a very sophisticated communicator, he deals with the press all his life, knew the damage it would cause.

What he omitted to tell this court, what he omitted to tell you, was that he had made these allegations in a much firmer form before and our legal department had put him on notice that they were not accurate and that we'd written to his representatives making that clear. That is why I used the word "mendacious" statement.

I'd now like to take on the context of the actual day. I think I explod -- I explained to you that I was driving back from an appointment, the lead item on the four o'clock news on the BBC was that another newspaper group had been dragged into the phone hacking scandal. Actor Hugh Grant had accused -- accused, not speculated, not suggested, not inferred -- this is modern journalism shorthand -- had been accused -- I'm sorry, had accused my group of being involved in phone hacking. I cannot tell you how damaging that was to our group.

But, as I said, he made this statement before so if you just bear with me because it's very important. On 7 July 2011 Mr Grant told the House of Lords that the Hacked Off -- at the launch of the Hacked Off campaign:

"Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire worked 70 per cent of his time for the News of the World and 30 per cent for the Daily Mail."

That is untrue and false. I have carried out a major internal inquiry into our payments and our computers. We have never paid any payments to Mr Mulcaire. I repeat, Ms Hartley rang Mr Grant's representative, told him of this, and denied that we as a company hacked phones.

Then another quote, 6 July 2011:

"Well, according to Paul McMullan, the ex News of the World features editor, who I interviewed surreptitiously and I published the article in the newspapers, he says it was every tabloid on Fleet Street who were enthusiastic phone hackers, going right up to the ones with the highest moral standards like the Daily Mail" --

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech