UK Politics

Tory MP Zac Goldsmith defends super-injunction

Zac Goldsmith
Image caption Zac Goldsmith said there had been "no great revelation" in any of the e-mails

Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith has insisted he was right to take out a super-injunction after private e-mails were hacked and passed to newspapers.

He told the BBC the legal fees had cost an "absolute fortune" and called for reform to make it possible for the less wealthy to protect their privacy.

But he accepted Parliament was unlikely to act, as most MPs feared the consequences of taking on the press.

Mr Goldsmith was granted the super-injunction in 2008.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's PM, he explained the circumstances under which he, his then wife Sheherazade and his sister Jemima Khan had obtained the order, which was downgraded to a standard injunction earlier this year, allowing its existence to be made public.

'Illegally accessed'

Mr Goldsmith, who represents Richmond Park, in south-west London, said his case was "probably the best example of why a super-injunction has merit".

He said: "I discovered late at night that hundreds of e-mails had been accessed illegally from my wife's - my now ex-wife's - e-mail account and also from my sister's e-mail account.

"I had no idea which e-mails had been accessed. I simply know that they had been sent to editors of newspapers around the country, purporting to come from me and/or my ex-wife, which was not the case.

"We didn't know who had done this or why it was being done and I sought very quickly to close down any possibility that these e-mails would be published, because they were clearly illegally accessed.

"There was no great revelation in any of them; they were simply private e-mails and discussions and exchanges between members of a family."

He added: "Initially we sought and obtained a super-injunction, which prevented any discussion of this in the coming weeks and months.

"When we eventually discovered who it was that had hacked the e-mails - someone we understood, and we still believe, suffers from quite serious mental health issues - we applied to have part of the super-injunction lifted - the part applying to myself and my sister, which is why we can talk about it now, but not the part applying to the hacker."

Mr Goldsmith, who has been an MP since last year, said revealing the contents of the e-mails would have been "very uncomfortable" at a time when he was seeking election to Parliament, because of the revelation of "all kinds of tittle-tattle which I would have been better off without".

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