Simon Hughes accepts damages from News of the World publisher

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The openly bisexual deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Simon Hughes has settled his phone-hacking damages claims against News of the World publisher News Group Newspapers.

Mr Hughes joined former footballer Paul Gascoigne, comedian Steve Coogan and football agent Sky Andrew in agreeing a settlement.

After a hearing, Mr Hughes said: “the evidence in my case clearly demonstrates that the practice of hacking was widespread. It was criminal behaviour on an industrial scale.”

He added: “Sadly, the deficiencies of the original police inquiries, which failed to investigate the clear evidence of much of the criminal behaviour at one of the most important businesses in our country, are also all too apparent.

“We must now make sure that nothing like this can ever happen again.

“Anyone involved in criminal activity at the News of the World must be brought to justice, and all those who allowed a large company to behave in this way must be held to account.

“There must also be answers to the serious questions about how the police managed to fail so badly in their original investigation.

“I will now pursue this matter through my participation in the Leveson Inquiry, an inquiry which I fully support.”

Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator hired by the paper had already pleaded guilty to hacking into Mr Hughes’s messages, along with seven other people’s voicemails in 2006.

Mr Hughes was forced to come out as bisexual by the News of the World’s sister newspaper The Sun in 2005, in an interview to respond to claims to be made by the newspaper that he had contacted men using a gay telephone chat service.

News Group Newspapers is a subsidiary of News International, itself a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.