MP Hancock on list of surveillance victims

FOLLOWED Mike Hancock
FOLLOWED Mike Hancock
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MIKE Hancock said he was ‘gobsmacked’ to discover he may have been spied on by a private detective working for the News of the World.

The Portsmouth South MP’s name was among more than 90 others – including Prince William and Gary Lineker – who were allegedly put under surveillance by the now-closed Sunday newspaper.

Former police detective Derek Webb has claimed from 2003 until the paper closed he was paid to follow high-profile targets on behalf of the News International title.

Mr Hancock – who has already been told his phone was hacked by the Metropolitan Police – said he was stunned to find out yesterday morning that along with 14 other MPs his privacy could have been invaded for as long as eight years.

He said: ‘I can barely believe it – not only did they hack my phone but they also paid an ex-police officer to follow me around. And this guy says he was doing it for eight years, it just beggars belief.

‘They must have thought they would get a story out of it. I was already thinking about legal action already, but I have spoken to other MPs about the possibility of doing something together.

‘I’m absolutely gobsmacked and horrified that newspapers are prepared to pay a private detective to spy on people like this.

‘It makes you feel like you’re back in 1994 but instead of the government watching you it’s the media.’

He added that while some MPs on the list had already heard from the Metropolitan Police and were in the same position as him, others were completely new targets.

A spokesman for News International said: ‘We are not able to make any comment around the specific work carried out by Mr Webb.’