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Jack McConnell, Former First Minister Of Scotland, Calls Lawyers Over Phone Hacking

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JACK MCCONNELL NEWS OF THE WORLD
Jack McConnell Has Confirmed He's Talking To Lawyers Over Alleged Hacking | PA

A former Scottish First Minister said today he was pursuing legal action after it emerged he may have been a victim of phone hacking by the News of the World.

Jack McConnell said he was "speaking to solicitors" after police said his and his children's telephone numbers were found in the notes of private detective Glenn Mulcaire who worked for News International. Mr Mulcaire and former News of the World royal reporter Clive Goodman were jailed in 2007 after admitting intercepting voicemail messages left on royal aides' phones

Mr McConnell said the discovery had been confirmed by Strathclyde Police on behalf of the Metropolitan Police.

He said: "I would prefer not to comment on details, but I can confirm that we are speaking to solicitors."

Strathclyde Police declined to comment.

Mr McConnell - now Baron McConnell of Glenscorrodale - was First Minister from 2001 to 2007. He was MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw at the Scottish Parliament before standing down before the elections last year.

He has two children, Hannah, 33, and Mark, 28, who police said could also be victims, although there is understood to be no evidence of hacking in relation to his wife Bridget.

News International's parent company News Corporation has already paid out settlements to dozens of victims of phone hacking, while the company last year apologised "unreservedly" to a number of public figures who were affected.

The scandal led to the closure of the News of the World newspaper in July 2010, while the Leveson Inquiry was set up to hear evidence about the culture, practice and ethics of the British press.

Last Thursday at the inquiry, which is looking into hacking and links between politicians and the press, Rupert Murdoch said News International bosses fell victim to a "cover-up" over the hacking scandal.

The media mogul said senior executives were not informed, or misinformed, and "shielded" from what was going on.

Meanwhile, questions were raised over the current First Minister Alex Salmond's relationship with News Corporation.

Opposition parties have demanded to know whether Mr Salmond was prepared to lobby Jeremy Hunt, the UK Culture Secretary, on the company's proposed takeover of BSkyB.

During an evidence session with Mr Murdoch's son James, it emerged that News Corp's director of public affairs Frederic Michel emailed him and said: "I met with Alex Salmond's adviser today. He will call Hunt whenever we need him to."

Mr Salmond has rejected any wrongdoing.

Shadow secretary of state for Scotland, Margaret Curran MP, described the McConnell family's situation as "very distressing".

She said: "People will be horrified to hear of this intrusion in to the lives of Jack and his family, and our thoughts are with them all.

"This revelation intensifies pressure on Alex Salmond significantly, and he needs to make clear whether he knew of the police findings."

Commenting on the evidence heard at the Leveson Inquiry last week, the Labour politician added: "The Scottish Government's response to this growing scandal is weak and insufficient. Their story changes by the day and is utterly self-contradictory."

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