Lord Prescott told of new phone-hacking evidence

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Lord Prescott, who claims News of the World journalists hacked into his phone, has said police have told him they have "significant new evidence".

The former deputy prime minister said this showed earlier investigations into his case and others were "inadequate".

He claimed phone hacking was widespread and involved "hundreds" of journalists.

The Metropolitan Police, which launched a fresh phone hacking inquiry last month, said it would be contacting a number of potential new victims.

Scotland Yard said officers at the specialist crime directorate Operation Weeting "have been able to make some links not previously identified" after reviewing a number of files.

They relate to the conviction of News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman for phone hacking in 2007, as well as new evidence recently provided from publisher News International.

"The team have also identified some individuals who were previously advised that there was little or no information held by the [Met Police] relating to them within the case papers and exhibits and this is now being reviewed," Scotland Yard added.

'Uncovering the truth'

Lord Prescott said in a statement he had met the lead officer, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, on Wednesday.

"She informed me that significant new evidence relating to phone hacking and myself had been discovered and that they were investigating it.

"I think this proves my long-held belief that the original Met police investigation into [private investigator Glenn] Mulcaire and News International was completely inadequate and failed to follow all the evidence.

Image caption,
Former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman was jailed in 2007

"I now look forward to the Met Police finally uncovering the truth."

Speaking later on BBC Breakfast, Lord Prescott claimed "hundreds" of journalists were involved in phone-hacking, and that "all" newspapers were implicated.

"The papers have been at it for years. There have been hundreds of journalists hacking phones in all the newspapers," he said.

Lord Prescott suggested that the relationship between papers owned by Rupert Murdoch - including the News of the World - and the police had hampered the original investigation into phone hacking.

He said: "Since it was a criminal act committed, why didn't the police take criminal action?

"There are a lot of questions now being asked as to why they didn't do that and that is to do with the relationship, frankly, between Murdoch press and the Met Police."

The Met denied suggestions that its relationship with Rupert Murdoch's papers was improper or had hampered the original investigation.

News International declined to comment.

Bob Satchwell, director of the Society of Editors, said: "As the police have said, there's no evidence yet of any criminal activity, it's simply that people may have been targeted.

"It's totally wrong for a senior politician to make claims that all papers and every journalist is involved in this activity."

Police have been accused by a number of public figures of failing to carry out thorough inquiries in the past, and launched a fresh inquiry last month after receiving new information.

Associated Press reported that thousands of names had been contained within News International's files, but Scotland Yard refused to comment on the number of people potentially involved.

In January 2007, Mulcaire and Goodman were jailed for six months and four months respectively.

Claims that phone hacking was widespread continue, and more and more celebrities and public figures have launched civil legal actions against both the paper and the police.

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