The bugger, bugged

One of the things we’d have never associated Hugh Grant with being was sneaky, but after having read his article in the New Statesman, in which he secretly recorded a conversation between him and Paul McMullan, the investigative journalist who blew the whistle on phone-hacking at the News Of The World, we see him a whole new light. In fact, he’d make an excellent tabloid journalist.

Grant nabbed McMullan after he was papped by him in Kent just before Christmas. After accepting the offer of a lift from the passing journo, after having broken down in the countryside, Grant realised that he could get some interesting information out of him if he went back to the pub he now runs, and taped the results. So he did, and he did get some interesting results, the juiciest of which was about some actress, apparently well-known and liked and in her 60s, being a prostitute when she first started out in the business.

Apart from the cheap tabloid gossip he also extracted some interesting stuff about why the investigation into phone-hacking is dragging on: ’20 per cent of the Met has taken backhanders from tabloid hacks.’ Nice to hear, eh?

‘One of the early stories was (the actress) used to be a streetwalker - whether or not she was, but that's the tip,’ McMullan said, according to Grant's transcript. ‘So I asked a copper to get his hands on the phone files, but because it's only a caution it's not there any more.

‘So that's the tip... it's a policeman ringing up a tabloid reporter and asking him for ten grand because this girl had been cautioned right at the start of his career. And then I ask another policemen to go and check the records.’

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