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North MP a victim of hackers; New scandal erupts on phone tampering claims.

Byline: William Green

LABOUR MP Nick Brown triggered a new phone hacking scandal last night - by suggesting intruders bugged his landline.

Telephone engineers confirmed his landline had been tampered with after the Labour MP became suspicious.

Police also warned his mobile phone might have been illegally accessed, said the Newcastle East MP. Mr Brown's revelations come as police have reopened their inquiry into phone hacking of celebrities and politicians, with the News of the World at the eye of the storm.

David Cameron has also been caught up in the row. His former spin doctor Andy Coulson was News of the World editor at the time, but has insisted he did not know about what was happening.

Gordon Brown, a close friend of Nick Brown, has also asked police whether his phone had been illegally accessed when he was Prime Minister.

Speaking to The Journal, the Newcastle East MP revealed his landline had been bugged after becoming suspicious following a conversation with an "important" person.

"I picked up a landline telephone very quickly after a making to a call to make another call straight away.

"And the line clicked and then I heard my last conversation played back to me, which was quite eerie," said Mr Brown, recounting the incident from a few years ago.

"I got onto British Telecom straight away. They have a division that deals with this sort of thing. They said the line showed every signs of having been intercepted manually, not through scanners."

He added: "It was a amateurish attempt involving the physical intervention of the line with a recording device."

And the senior politician's mobile phone may also have been accessed.

Mr Brown said: "It was a West Country police force saying they were prosecuting an individual for telephone tapping and that I was one of the people who may had his telephone tapped."

And while he got in touch with officers, they were unable to say much because it was going to trial.

Despite efforts of police and prosecutors, Mr Brown said rulings by the judge meant the case did not go ahead.

"Given that it was near Highgrove, my assumption was that this might involve the Royal Family. But I was never explicitly told that," said the Labour MP.

Asked if he had spoken again with police, he said: "It seems to me once the court says the court cannot proceed, I am not quite sure what there is left to do."

MORE PHONE-HACKING REVELATIONS SCOTLAND Yard was battling to stop the phone hacking scandal spiralling out of control last night amid a storm of fresh revelations.

Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin pledged to leave "no stone unturned" as detectives restarted a "swift and robust" inquiry into the actions of staff at the News of the World.

He vigorously defended keeping the case closed for four years saying it was reopened in the light of "highly significant" new information passed to police by the newspaper.

Detectives must consider where the dossier of information will lead them under the full glare of the media spotlight as alleged victims of the controversy continue to emerge.

The move came as a steady flow of potentially incendiary developments piled further pressure on the newspaper and police, including: Labour frontbencher and former Cabinet minister Tessa Jowell said she has contacted police after her mobile phone company alerted her to an apparent attempt to access her voicemail last week.

Court documents reportedly showed designer Kelly Hoppen, the former stepmother of actress Sienna Miller, suspects her phone was targeted as recently as last Spring.

Government whip Lord Wallace of Saltaire said the press faces a "crisis of trust" matching that faced by politicians in the wake of the parliamentary expenses scandal.

The new police inquiry is the most significant development in the controversy since the News of the World's royal editor was imprisoned almost exactly four years ago in 2007.

Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed at the Old Bailey after they admitted intercepting messages.

The Met acted after detectives were handed information uncovered earlier this week during an internal inquiry, including a trawl of emails held on company servers, at the newspaper.

Ian Edmondson, the newspaper's head of news, was sacked two days ago.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 28, 2011
Words:721
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