MP ‘not surprised’ if his phone was hacked

BATTLE MP Greg Barker would “not be surprised at all” to find his name in the list of those who allegedly had their phone hacked by reporters at the News of the World.

Himself the target of intense media attention in the past, Mr Barker told the Observer he had no reason to believe it had happened but that anyone in the public eye could expect to be a victim.

He felt when phone hacking was an issue surrounding politicians and celebrities it was not a great concern.

Mr Barker said: “That was completely changed by the consequent revelation of the hacking of members of the public and murder victims.

“That was something that shocked the whole nation and suddenly propelled itself into a completely new level of seriousness.

“Also shocking were the revelations about corruption and the Metropolitan Police.

“I think there has been a wake up call to the media and to politicians that this cosy relationship is not only unsustainable but totally wrong.”

He welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron that inquiry would be held into phone hacking and connection with the police.

There is also to be a review of regulation of the press and Mr Barker described tighter control as “a difficult issue that in the past politicians of all parties have historically backed away from.”

He said: “The free press is always going to crowd issues and be uncomfortable for politicians and that is how it should be.

“But it is clear that boundary had been crossed.

“It is not that we haven’t the law to deal with it. Phone hacking became illegal in 2001 – but they thought they were above the law.”

Mr Barker felt reaction to the scandal and possible consequence meant Britain was now “sailing into unchartered water” but hoped interest in it would not continue at such intensity.

He said: “I am concerned that this is a massive distraction from things that are really important to people like fixing the economy, protecting front line services, getting the deficit down.

“While we are obsessed with this hacking there is a crisis with the euro sinking.

“Now is the time to say let the inquiry do its work, and let’s move on.”