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

Can I explain the circumstances of that? I was off that day on an outside appointment. Not off; out of the office on an outside appointment, and I was driving back and the 4 o'clock news came on the BBC and the headline was as followed:

"Another major newspaper group has been dragged into the phone hacking scandal. Actor Hugh Grant has accused the Mail on Sunday -- Associated Newspapers' Mail on Sunday of hacking phones."

It was a terrible smear on a company I love. We had to do something about it. I discussed with the Mail on Sunday's editor what our response was. A long convoluted press statement was being prepared. I was deeply aware -- and he was deeply aware -- that you had to rebut such a damaging, damaging allegation, and we agreed on the form of words: "It was a mendacious smear."

Let me explain why I feel it was a mendacious smear. You will have read -- you have already interviewed our legal director on this for a considerable amount of time. Our witness statements have made clear that Associated is not involved in phone hacking and we've denied phone hacking in this instance, anyway, specifically. Mr Grant, on previous occasions, had made this allegation -- if I could just refer to them --

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