Updated: Sunday, 29th March 2020 @ 7:27am

Rupert Murdoch should pay up for hacking trial, demands Manchester MP John Leech

Rupert Murdoch should pay up for hacking trial, demands Manchester MP John Leech

| By Richard Browne

Rupert Murdoch’s News International should ‘foot the bill’ for the hacking trial, a Manchester MP claimed as Andy Coulson was sentenced to 18 months in prison today.

John Leech, MP for Manchester Withington, also argued it was time that the British press was held to account.

Coulson was jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to hack phones as News of the World editor between 2003 and 2007.

The case against News International has cost taxpayers more than £40million and that money should be recouped from Murdoch’s organization according to Leech, who is also Liberal Democrat spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

He said: “It is impossible to judge how many millions of pounds News International newspapers have made from individuals breaking the law, but there is clear justification for Murdoch’s News International to foot the bill.”

He also gave a reminder of those who had been most affected by the hacking scandal – those on the receiving end of illegal press activity.

“I am glad Andy Coulson is being held responsible for his actions of conspiring to hack phones when he was leading the News of the World,” he said.

“We must not forget the victims in all this – these crimes were committed between 2000 and 2006. 14 years for victims to wait to get justice is just too long.”

Mr Leech also made it clear where he stood on the contentious issue of post-Leveson press regulation, which has sown division within the press itself.

“The press needs robust, timely, independent regulation,” he said.

 Meanwhile, former Manchester United star Lee Sharpe has settled his phone hacking damage claim.

Sharpe, and his ex-girlfriend Joanne Petty, received undisclosed damages and legal costs as well as an apology for any damage or distress suffered from News Group Newspapers.

Sharpe retired from football in 2002 to become a TV personality and sports pundit.

Image courtesy of Interpreting National Network, with thanks.