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Statement on phone-hacking settlement

Posted on 8 February 2012 | 10:02am

As has just been announced at the High Court, News Group Newspapers have admitted that the News of the World intercepted messages on my mobile phone in 2006, and have apologised and agreed to pay damages and costs for the procedings I brought against them and private detective Glenn Mulcaire last year.

This is a satisfactory outcome, for which I thank solicitor Gerald Shamash and QC Jeremy Reed, and I am particularly pleased that News Group have also undertaken to continue searches of other ‘documents in its possession’, so that I can ascertain the extent of any further wrongdoing, both for the time I worked in Downing Street and since, and they have agreed I ‘may be entitled to further damages in certain circumstances.’

This is not, and never has been, about the money, with which I shall be making donations to various organisations including the Labour Party, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Comprehensive Future, Local Schools Network and Clarets Trust, so that at least some small good for the causes I believe in can come out of the criminality and cultural depravity of others.

For me, this has been about people with a voice and a platform using them to change the media culture which, as I argued at the Leveson Inquiry, has become putrid in parts. We have seen plenty of that exposed at the Inquiry. It took John Prescott and others to expose police wrongdoing in their handling of phone-hacking. It has taken lots of other public figures to expose the full extent – so far – of wrongdoing by the News of the World. And it took the revelations about Milly Dowler to create the tipping point that forced the government finally to set up an inquiry into press standards, something which, as I have said before, Labour should have done.

Where this all leads is anyone’s guess. But the debate has to be kept alive and at the front of the public mind once Leveson concludes. There are already signs that Tory ministers in particular are not keen on going along with major reform of the regulatory system if that is what the Inquiry recommends. They prefer the remarkable level of media support they currently enjoy to acting in the national interst to improve the level of debate, and the standards of the media.

It is incumbent upon all who for whatever reason are in this debate about press standards, and the relationship between press, politics and public, to keep fighting for the full truth about the nature of the modern media to be exposed, and for something better to be put in its place in terms of ownership, standards and regulation.

  • first!

  • Leo

    I support the sentiments of your statement – but I’d expect a publication from an outlet of this visibility to have been spell-checked!

  • Jacquie R

    Fine statement, Alastair. And, as we look to the future, we really need to decide if we want our children to continue growing up in a culture dominated by hysterical, politcally conservative, xenophobic, sexist, celebrity-obsessed newspapers, designed purely to profit their powerful owners.

    There are other models of media ownership and alternatives to the status quo. There is now a fantastic opportunity to seriously begin this debate.

  • Jill

    Would Tony Blair – the Godfather of Rupert Murdoch’s child – have been more keen for press reform?

  • andyj

    “Cultural depravity”? Pot. Kettle. Black.

  • Richard

    When “Fleet St” could have its way with our mobile phones, we would be foolish to think that the security services did not have the same ability to do so. (If they did not know, they should be closed down!)  Are we to believe that the control freekery for which your administration was famous, had no knowledge of such techniques?

    Deputy PM,NI Minister, yourself? All having phones hacked without MI?? Knowledge? I think not..

  • Michele

     If you are or ever have been religious and believe/d that religion benefits anybody, would you refuse to be the god-parent to the child of anyone at all that asked you?

    Put the pins away before you swallow them.

  • Ehtch

    Facebook gives the me the eebegeebees – if anything happens to someone, the press are straight onto that for info and photos, and all legal – no need for a phone to hack. Strange times we live in, lord knows what our grandparents would think of it all if they were here now. Madness my maternal grandad would call it, very bluntly.

  • Ehtch

    PMQ’s today, bit off topic, but might be close to the issue (phone hacking in Tory HQ in past?) – anyway, does anyone else think David Cameron got into a right state today? He even had a go at us Welsh even, with our NHS, so he must be desperate! : ) Laughed my buttocks off I did. And well done Ed – you wound him up like a cuckoo clock, and you got him flapping. Tidy like.

  • Ehtch

    furthermore on my PMQ’s and Dave getting pinker by the minute comment, beeb has recently put on a short vid of the best of the action, ding-ding, round n,

  • Michele

     Did  you skip over the first paragraph then?

  • Michele

     It’s all given rise to some strange new words Ehtch; unfriend, unfollow :-s

  • Tina Willis

    What’s still yet to be shockingly revealed (their archive recording still witheld by a gutless Brit Bull Corp still enthrall to the ALIEN Monster Murdoch) is Rupert Murdoch’s statement from the safety of his Adelaide bunker on Tuesday 7th October 1997.  Asked of his regrets at the ‘Death By Tabloid’ of 3 young people including a globally loved young woman leaving her two young children motherless (one of whom Britain’s future King), came the inhuman reply,  ” MY ONLY REGRET IS THAT I PAID TOO MUCH FOR SOME PHOTOS ! ” The next true journo’s question, which predictably never came, should have been, “Mr Murdoch, what if it was YOUR family ?”

    Also gutlessly witheld online now is the NewsCorp AGM 1997 report with the ALIEN Monster Murdoch’s own gloating comments about that single most mourned funeral ever, making the largest non-sport media ratings in history.

  • Jacquie R

    Richard, did you know that Stella Rimington herself says she was spied upon by the Sunday Times when she was head of MI5?  She claimed they snooped into her private life – shopping, banking and even her medical records. 

    She revealed this last September, and it’s been given extraordinary little publicity.  I blogged on it (at DemocracyFail) at the time, but there’s been virtual silence since.  Interesting.

  • I am with you on phone hacking, Alastair, and on wanting decency in media (not just press) conduct, but have some doubts about the Leveson inquiry and the hypocritical, sanctimonious way broadcasters are covering it (your own i/v on 5 Live today seemed a classic example). My longer response is here  – – but there is the whiff of double standards here. And I also fear Leveson is being encouraged to favour a society where news is what someone or some institution wants to say in a press release.

  • Libdem

    You obviously did otherwise you would know that Alastair referred just to News Group, News of the World and Glenn Mulcaire.

  • Michele

     I wish Clegg would stop playing with his face through every PMQs ….. “We can see you”.

    This is an issue that needs 100% of MPs voting.  Not just Tories, not just Labour, not just ANY of the varied Others, every single one that isn’t on certified sick leave and paired with someone they KNOW will vote the opposite way to themselves on this one matter.

    It’s a joke that in this day and age people can get away with not committing themselves and accounting to their constituency ….. ALL of it, not just their voters.

    Voting can easily be electronic,there need be no more ‘abstentions’ due to committees no matter how select.  Vote can be placed and pulled in at bang on ‘make yur mind up time’.

    Nick Clegg has voted at less than 18% of divisions during this Parliament.  Many Labour MPs have a similarly appalling record; what happened to standing up and being counted (and even if there’s no whiff of a win)?

  • Alwyn Roberts.

    I`m sure he would have liked to reform the press, however can you just imagine the furore of the Tories if he had tried to do so!!! Labour would have been accused of attempting to “muzzle” free speech. Current proceedures only came about as a result of the phone hacking scandal,the last straw being the hacking of a young murdered girls phone.

  • Michele

    You getting in to a 3-legged race with Richard then?

    Oh my, do I mean a coalition?

  • Evanstheword

    Where can I comment about Alistair’s radio 5 live interview today with Richard Bacon?  I want to tell him that I agree with him completely when he complained about the wrong decision of the BBC to swap live coverage of PMQs in favour of live waffle about Harry Rednap.  Unbelievable!!  Such complacency!!

  • Libdem

    Not a bad answer for someone as remiss as you.

  • Michele

     Do you need both the hyphen and the ‘but’?

    Ye gods you joined just to make that silly qualification?

  • Michele

    There isn’t much in life that is absolute and can only be thought about in one way.

    On the night we heard of what had just been published in t’grundian I speculated about how what had been discovered had been …. we’re adult enough to know that sometimes the ends justify the means and sometimes they don’t (and to feel trepidation o.b.o. those that set out for honourable reasons when we know it can all blow up in their face – just as it has for those that went way beyond what they set out to uncover).

    Yep I know, I’m not idealistic enough.

    However ….. just as I’m about to press Post I hear that Capello has resigned and I just hope that has nothing to do with a tax-evader’s next opportunity.

  • Jacquie R

    Correction: “extraordinarily”. iPad distortion. Really!

  • Michele

     Facing downstage ….. Oooooooh she really doesn’t like me, titter ye not missus.

    Judging by your last few posts though, non liberal non democrat, I do give you a raison d’etre.  Perhaps I should be HD&Qed for that alone?

  • Gilliebc

    I don’t like/trust Facebook or similar sites where people go into such detail of their lives for everyone to see.  So I’ve never been tempted by such sites. It’s easy and cheap surveillance of the masses by TPTB imo. 

    Although others say that they only know what you choose to tell Facebook, which is true to an extent.  But I think there are some people who are so open and innocent/stupid that they simply don’t realise just how much information they are giving away.

    Identity theft is a big problem nowadays and someone’s DOB, which these sites require is a big help to ID thieves.

  • Fathersreachingout

    please can you help me get my support group for men.carers of postnatal depression partners out there im on bbc4 womans hour this friday 11am

    • Michele

       Very good luck on Friday. 
      I caught the tail end of this morning’s edition, only to hear Ms Murray read out an email which’s tit4tat contents made me wonder whether the hour is still valid. 
      The only thing in its favour imhoo is when suddenly they’ll have a new musician performing live (sometimes even before Jools has featured them).

  • Anonymous

    Agree Gilliebc, what the experts can get from likes of twitter, email, facebook etc is frightening.

    Of course they say if you’ve done nothing wrong its fine, but how hard would it be for those who can dig this deep to plant stuff.

    Cyberwarfare will be big part of 21st century.

  • Anonymous

    Good appearance on 10 o’clock live AC. Good points made though Mitchell was funny too, leaving NI peace process to watch Burnley was brilliant!

    On the show itself, not sure what I make of the new format. Good that the audience has been forced to sit down and shut up more, the chat was less partisan, guests were allowed more of a chance to debate.

    Missed the 1 on 1 interview of Mitchell, and the bit where Mitchell sits on a chair and rants.

    Just like last time, I’ll complain about it but always watch it.

  • Gilliebc

    Good web-site Mark.  I’ve often thought it must be very difficult for men whose partners suffer from postnatal depression.  Now at least there is one site where they can
    go and find empathy and support.  Good luck with it and with your ‘Woman’s Hour’ spot on Friday.

  • Ehtch

    Been mucking about seriously with FB for the first time in the last few weeks – I signed on to it when it first started, and gave it a pseydonym, since that what I did on all other sites, and blogs. Then everyone started giving their own names and telling the World more or less everything about themselves, and that made me seriously rub my chin. Looked at it over the years now and then to see what the fuss is all about, but after yawing for about dozen times, left it there.

    FB has become quite a peculiar strange beast, almost like an outbreak of a social disease on a vast scale. It has next to zero educational content in it, apart to the phishers, as you mention.

  • Ehtch

    Good appearance on Ten O’Clock Live show last night Alastair, it looked like you really enjoyed it. Notice that they have moved it to Weds night from Thurs last series, so Question Time has won out (never ever thought I’d say that). Trouble is you must have missed the footie on the telly – Middlesborough/Sunderland was a cracker, went into extra time it did. Even had a loon from the terraces running on to join Middleborough’s defence – very funny.

  • Ehtch

    Can be heard again here,
    Haven’t heard it in it’s two hours entirety, but the ‘arry business is at the start after a few minutes.

    Audio clip link there of a couple of minutes of the inquiry. too.

  • Libdem

    Oooh congratulations, you speak another language as well as double dutch.
    I don’t believe in capital punishment, being ‘sectioned’ would be more appropriate for you.

    • Ehtch

      Stop hissing like a stoopid alley cat will you, Libdem. You bother Michele and you will be bothering with me, oh yes. I’ll… I’ll start calling you names, as like spannerhead – yes, that is a good one for the present Libs, spannerheads.

      Or I’ll put my moggy on you, and you won’t be wanting that. He is looking for an excuse to blowup after his recent bagpipes terrible experiences.

    • Michele

       You’;re getting on dodgy ground now non liberal non democrat.  Rein yourself in girl.

  • Ehtch

    Furthermore, Twitter twatting is much more healthy than FB, I think, even if with it’s unfortunate name, with me using at every chance to make fun off, as like a 21st century Carry on film. But maybe that is why they called it twatter, sorry, Twitter, in the first place.

    Not on twatter though – I have to think about it, mmm, only after deep investigation though, and try not speaking to Stephen Fry about it,
    (by the way, click skip one minute ad as soon as you can on youtubby)

    I am a YT fan, always have been, it is up my road of mind – ok, so I am anti-social and have an artistic bent, so what?

  • Ehtch

    By the way Alastair, ever since Evanstheword pointed out Five Live diversion from PMQ’s, I have tried to hold my tongue, but I can’t any further – the BBC is already trying to subverte a possible future Labour Government. That is the only conclusion that anyone can draw from those Shepherd’s Bush lot. No arguement.

  • Michele

     Ooooh fight fight  can I dress up like Lady Guinevere?   😀

  • Gilliebc

    Exactly reaguns, It used to be said that innocent people have nothing to fear.  I’m not sure that was ever true and in this day and age it certainly isn’t true.  As you rightly say it is all too easy to plant stuff on someone and totally fit them up to suit the agenda of others.
    Cyberwarfare with so much mis/dis information is very big already.  ‘MaHoosive’ even 🙂

    It annoys me quite a lot that almost all sites where I buy stuff on-line always want to know my DoB!  I’m not coy about my age, but I fail to see its relevancy when I’m buying something like cat food for example!

  • Gilliebc

    I wouldn’t have had you down as ‘anti-social’ Ehtch!
    This Facebook thing is a bit scary though because even though I’m not on it my DiL is.  She is careful what she says, but I know she puts photos up on the site particularly photos of her ‘girls nites out’ and photos of family gatherings.  So I suspect there are photos of me on there somewhere and there is nothing I can do about it.  Oh well, there’s not much point in me worrying about it unduly I suppose.  Privacy seems to be a thing of the past.

  • Ehtch

    Been barking on like an old dog complaining of over-social platforms, so here from my fav sudo-social platform, YT, and Saint Etienne, who will soon, I then heard, will be releasing an album soon, apparently, so here is a sample, via yootubby of course, (posted by Saint Etienne official, again, of course),

    Anyone like my Stephen Fry impression in this comment? No? oh arse! (<---- did it again?, oh bugger off then, <---? we could go on all night here......)

  • Anonymous

    Channel 4 were complete and total morons to put this on last year at the same time as question time, hitting all the people like me who would like to watch both. Question Time was there first. It has proven its quality / appeal, its for 10 o’clock live to pick a different night/time. Justice and common sense finally prevailed.

    I liked 10 o’clock live, but I wouldn’t watch it before QT or This Week.

  • Anonymous

    The DOB thing is so they can figure out what ads to bombard you with – its like when you log on amazon and it says “We thought you might like these items.”

    Yeah the “innocent people have nothing to fear” thing is ok until regimes get more and more authoritarian, have more ways to catch people and make more and more things “crimes”. For example not doing your recycling will end up being a crime. I don’t remember being asked to vote on that particular item of law, and laws are supposed to reflect the will of the people.

    It can also get to the stage where supporting the wrong party is a crime. This has happened often, its just easier to “catch” people nowadays, look at Putin.

    As Tony Benn said this battle (for liberty) is never fully lost… or fully won. We must keep on fighting.

  • Michele

    It’s depressing that Paul Dacre made such a vacuous claim today that none of his staff listened in to voicemails.  We know that that isn’t even what’s been proved to have been commonplace at NoW……. it was hired hands from outside.

    I’ve always felt very sorry for Heather Mills; the ‘jokes’ made about her have been revolting, no matter one’s opinion of her personality and the stick she got from PM’s daughter right from before the marriage was very unpleasant.  What HM said about Piers Morgan was very down to earth.

  • Michele

    Have just realised, doesn’t WH start at 10am?

  • Ehtch

    “Anti-social” was just a self-deprecatory joke, which I do all the time. I am fairly social – you couldn’t describe me as a “get off my farm” type, I am quite curious. And no, not in that way, well, not on a sunday at least… : )

  • Libdem

    The thought of your pussy is enough to put anyone off Ehtch!

  • Ehtch

    Anyway, let us go into no-mans-land and call peace for a bit of footie. Thinking of breaking away from the Coalition? Hope so, says this man. A song to sweet you – I have my ways…

  • Michele

     Good interviews Mark & Missus and interesting comments from the other woman.
    I think depression’s more common after the disappointment of an EmCS; I was lucky that after spending months reading Drs Lamaze and Leboyer I had to have one (but escaped depression). 

    I can’t fathom why this Govt has been offering elective/scheduled CSs for every woman; the body is able to recover from natural childbirth, not so well after such major surgery (and some silly girls seem to think a CS will save them having to do certain exercise afterwards durrrr).

  • Lewis Godfrey

    Dear Mr Campbell

    Have just listened to you on QT about phone hacking. I agree with everything you say, and I think you put it very eloquently. People interviewed on television always say they appreciate comments from people they do not know supporting them and their cause, and I really hope that you follow up your obvious concern with some action. So many people support you. Fight Dacre. Fight Murdoch and fight Desmond