Something has been bugging me about the Simon Hughes issue. In a post below, I stated that The Sun had got hold of his phone records. However, I now understand that it may have actually been his credit card records which The Sun obtained. I think therefore that Simon Hughes might be entitled to ask just how they did this. But he won't because it would be too risky for him, so maybe others should be asking the question on his behalf. If indeed it was through credit card records, the plot thickens. I am told by a friend who knows about these things that if he did pay by credit card, the word MANTALK would not have appeared on his credit card statement - instead it would be something innocuous so as not to arouse suspicion from anyone who might see the statement (like a girlfriend), I guess. So The Sun would have needed to do quite a bit of research to establish exactly what the company did. It seems therefore likely that someone close to Simon or someone in the know within the LibDems tipped them off. Or he may have thrown the statement away without shredding it and Benjy the Binman happened to pay a call.
In a way it doesn't matter whether it is phone records or a credit card bill. Assuming the records weren't just handed to The Sun I cannot see how they can possibly have obtained them within the rules of data protection or within the bounds of various other laws. I have no knowledge of the remit of the Press Complaints Commission, but I would be interested to know from readers if a complaint to them would be worthwhile someone undertaking. It is entirely proper for a newspaper to expose hypocrisy in public life, but there have to be limits on what they are able to do to facilitate such an exposure. Strangely, the rest of the media has been silent on this. But I remember well how The Guardian forged a letter on House of Commons notepaper which helped bring down Jonathan Aitken. Some will say the outcome justified the method used. My question is, what is an acceptable limit, beyond which a newspaper should not go?