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Hugh Grant Explains How He Exposed Phone Hacking At British Paper

Hugh Grant has been absent from mainstream cinema for a few years now but that doesn't mean he hasn't been busy.

In a new interview with the BBC, the actor explains how he helped expose the phone hacking and payoff practices of Britain's 'News of the World' to authorities.

The paper recently announced it would shut down following a hacking scandal involving murder victim Milly Dowler.

"By sheer coincidence, I broke down in the middle of Kent in my car. It's a long story but basically a guy got out of the car on the other side of the road and started taking pictures of me."

"He was Paul McMullan, the ex-News of the World features editor, and I started swearing at him etc."

"Anyway, I finally got talking to him and he started boasting about how my phone had been hacked and all of the dirtiest tactics of the News of the World and about their relationship with the police and about their relationship with five successive prime ministers."

"I was revolted and astonished. Then I went back a few months later to the pub he runs and pretended to be dropping in for a pint."

"And I bugged him. It seemed like symmetry. I got him talking again about all these things and I published them in the New Statesman."

"He said how extensive, what an industrial scale, it was that phone hacking went on. How it wasn't just The News of the World, it was all the tabloids. How money regularly passed hands between News International and officers of Metropolitan police."

"How Margaret Thachter was the first to realize how difficult it was to get elected in his country without the backing of the Murdoch press. That she was the first one to become an undignified sycophant to that organization."

"How the pattern has been followed to every prime minster since, including this one."

"And when I asked him 'do you think the News of the World hacked the phones of the family and friends of the little girls murdered?' He said 'yes, I think that most certainly happened.'"

McMullan, who was present in the studio during the live interview, confirmed Grant's version of events.

"Two pints of spitfire cost six quid. You owe me six quid," he said. "He didn't pay me for his beer. Apart from that it was fine."

"How can Hugh Grant coming into your pub with a silly little pen be anything other than hilarious. I didn't mind being turned over... I suspected he was doing it although I really couldn't believe it."

July 11, 2011 |

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