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Hugh Grant names new publication in phone hacking inquiry

Meanwhile, Twitter commentary on today’s hearings were distracted for a time by a #womanontheleft…

Hugh Grant arriving to give evidence today.
Hugh Grant arriving to give evidence today.
Image: Alastair Grant/AP/Press Association Images

ACTOR HUGH GRANT gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking this afternoon and implicated a non-Murdoch paper in the alleged phone hacking.

Grant claims that the Mail on Sunday (owned by Associated Newspapers Ltd) hacked his phone before publishing an article claiming that his relationship with Jemima Khan was in difficulty because of his phone conversations with a “plummy voiced” woman.

The actor said that while no such woman existed, he believed the woman they alluded to was not a movie executive as the paper had claimed, but was the assistant of an executive who would contact him from LA on business and leave voice messages for him. He sued the newspaper for libel four years ago and won his case.

When questioned for evidence of such hacking, Grant admitted that his phone may not have been hacked but that he could not think of how else they would have sourced that story.

It is the first time Grant has implicated a non-Murdoch paper in the allegations.

Addressing the inquiry today, Grant said media interest in his private life intensified after the success of his Four Weddings and Funeral film 17 years ago. He said that his girlfriends had been targeted by the press and outlined how the mother of his newborn daughter felt hounded by the media.

Grant, who has been leading a campaign to tackle press intrusion, urged people to stand up to tabloid “bullies”, saying that “there has been a section of our press that has been allowed to become toxic over the past 20 or 30 years.”

Earlier today, the inquiry heard evidence from its first witnesses Sally and Bob Dowler, the parents of murdered 13-year-old Milly Dowler. Sally Dowler said that she believed her daughter was still alive after she was able to add a new voice mail message to Milly’s previously-full account. It later transpired that someone working for the News of the World had accessed the messages.

The media ethics inquiry was set up by Prime Minister Cameron in the wake of a wave of phone hacking allegations against the News of the World, which closed amid pressure over the claims.

Other well-known figures including author JK Rowling and actress Sienna Miller are to give evidence during the week.

Meanwhile, discussion on Twitter about today’s proceedings was for a period distracted by television footage of a dark-haired woman in the courtroom closely watching Grant’s testimony – much to the annoyance of some:

Hugh Grant names new publication in phone hacking inquiry
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  • #womanontheleft

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  • #womanontheleft

  • #womanontheleft

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