Sir Simon Hughes, an ex-MP, has reached a settlement with News Group Newspapers over a phone-hacking lawsuit.
Sir Simon Hughes, a former Liberal Democrat MP, is one of a series of high-profile persons to accept “substantial” damages from The Sun’s publisher for phone hacking.
In 2019, Sir Simon filed a lawsuit against News Group Newspapers (NGN), the publisher of The Sun and the now-defunct News Of The World, for misappropriation of confidential information and breach of trust.
According to the High Court, the former MP, who represented Bermondsey and Old Southwark for 32 years until 2015, said he was “the victim of improper information-gathering by various journalists and executives at The Sun.”
Sir Simon also alleged that journalists working for The Sun illegally obtained information about his sexuality in 2006, just before the publication published a front-page story “exposing his sexuality.”
At a brief hearing in London on Thursday, he accepted “substantial” damages from NGN.
In connection to The Sun, NGN made no acknowledgment of culpability.
Sir Simon’s lawyer, David Sherborne, told the court that The Sun writers had “obtained facts from his itemized phone bill, including the telephone numbers of his acquaintances and colleagues.”
Sir Simon’s home telephone call data had been supplied to a number of journalists and editors at The Sun, Mr Sherborne told the court, which “seriously worried and horrified” him.
According to the court, one of The Sun’s journalists told Sir Simon in 2006 that the newspaper had “obtained evidence of his private telephone calls and encouraged him to agree to concede that he had had gay relationships.”
Mr Sherborne claimed Sir Simon believed The Sun would publish the story with or without his permission, and that he “thought he had no choice than to cooperate.”
According to the court, the former MP now believes that this “private and sensitive information was collected by illicit information-gathering procedures and was used with the knowledge and permission of important senior officials at the newspaper.”
As part of the settlement, NGN has agreed to pay Sir Simon considerable damages as well as his legal costs.
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