Max Clifford

Clifford mulls News of the World legal action

Clifford mulls News of the World legal action

By staff

Celebrity publicist Max Clifford has taken the first step toward a possible legal action over the News of the World phone tapping scandal.

The PR guru has hired the same legal team as that employed by Graham Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association. The agreement reached at the end of that deal, which included a gagging clause, came to light after the Guardian allegedly realised it was just one of several similar cases.

Between them Mr Clifford’s solicitor, Charlotte Harris, and her partner Mark Lewis, claim to represent around 20 people considering a class action against the newspaper.

Clifford said he was told around two years ago his phone was being tapped, but that he dismissed the claim as a prank.

“I believed that this was a one-off, just two lads overstepping the mark. I gave them the benefit of the doubt,” he said.

“Now it is increasingly worrying that there could be an awful lot more. I want to know which journalists were involved, in case I’m still dealing with them. I have a lot of clients phoning me all the time with confidential information. A lot of them have been in touch, worried, looking for me to get to the bottom of it all.”

The News of the World is currently facing three separate investigations into whether it phone-tapped or broke data protection laws thousands of high profile figures from the world of politics, celebrity and sport.

The culture, media and sport committee starts a renewed inquiry into the affair today. The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is opening and investigation and the director of public prosecutions is also looking into the original case, which saw Clive Goodman, the paper’s royal correspondent, jailed in 2007.