Phone hacking led to MP admitting he was bisexual
The inquiry into the phone hacking scandal plaguing several of Rupert Murdoch’s UK-based newspapers has heard sensational claims from a senior British politician on how his chances at taking over the leadership of the Liberal Democrats were scuppered after The Sun outed him as bisexual.
The continuing revelations and fallout over the scandal forced James Murdoch to resign overnight as executive chairman of News International, the British arm of his father's media empire.
Widely considered as the frontrunner for the top position with the Liberal Democrats, Simon Hughes’s chances were dashed when in 2006 he was confronted by journalists from The Sun regarding information relating to records of telephone calls made by the politician.
Hughes told the Leveson inquiry that he “admitted straightforwardly” to the matter but soon after that meeting, The Sun ran a story with the headline ‘Hughes: I’ve had gay sex’ which quoted him as saying, “It was wrong to keep denying it”.
Hughes (pictured) told the inquiry on Tuesday that the story itself did not accurately represent what he had told The Sun journalists.
Following the publication of the story, Hughes said that two of his friends – one a male, the other female – were then harassed “on a fallacious assumption” by reporters trying to link them to apparent sexual escapades.
Police later informed Hughes that his phone had been hacked but did not provide him with much information on the lengths of the hacking.
The MP blasted police for not taking proper action when claims about phone hacking by journalists working for The Sun and other News International outlets first came to light in 2006.
“It struck me as fairly obvious once everything was revealed, if you had seen the names of the other journalists from the same paper you would at least have asked some questions and got them in for questioning and investigate what their role was,” Hughes told the inquiry.
“A lot of the illegal action might have been shut down and a lot of the people who are now known to be victims might not be victims or might not have suffered as much.”
Hughes settled his phone hacking case with News International earlier this month for £45,000.
Nick Clegg eventually won the Liberal Democrats’ leadership battle and in 2010 agreed to form a minority government with the Conservative Party led by Prime Minister David Cameron after voters had ousted Labour following 13 years in government.