Yesterday Guido highlighted the involvement of former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Macdonald and the former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith in the phone-hacking scandal. It obviously hit a sore spot with the latter. Goldsmith’s spokesman emailed Guido:
“Lord Goldsmith looks forward to responding to the letter Mr Vaz is apparently sending, but wishes to make it perfectly clear now that there is no truth at all in the suggestion that he authorised or instructed police to narrow their investigations in relation to phone hacking.”
That’s all well and good, but it does not answer the charge that Guido laid yesterday. Goldsmith is attempting to shift the blame down the line to Macdonald for the decision to limit the investigation. However what Guido wants to know is whether Goldsmith subsequently raised in Cabinet that the police had told him in May 2006 that “a vast number of unique voicemail numbers belonging to high-profile individuals (politicians, celebrities) have been identified as being accessed without authority…”
He told Newsnight last night “As background in the briefing that I had about those cases (Mulcaire and Goodman), I was told that the police believed there were other cases as well.” Did he raise this in Cabinet? If not, then why not? If however he did, then why was no action taken by the Labour government?
UPDATE: Lord Goldsmith and his spokesman are keen readers and tell Guido it would it would have been “entirely inappropriate for the Attorney General to share this or any such memorandum with any Cabinet Ministers” arguing that
“the DPP acts independently of government and that the Attorney General, when fulfilling his role of superintendence, does so also.
This memorandum was to keep the Attorney General, as a law officer, updated on the progress in this investigation. It was not for sharing with other Ministers, none of whom should ever be, or perceived to be, in a position to influence prosecution decisions.
I trust the above answers the question you raised. It still leaves Lord MacDonald with some tricky questions to respond to which I see Mark Reckless is pursuing.”
Which is a lawyerly way of saying it wasn’t down to me, it was down to him…