Prince Harry: Government At 'Rock Bottom' And 'In Bed' With The Media

The Duke of Sussex claimed at the high court that the Rishi Sunak administration and press work together to maintain the “status quo”.
Prince Harry departs the Rolls Building of the High Court after giving evidence during the Mirror Group phone hacking trial.
Prince Harry departs the Rolls Building of the High Court after giving evidence during the Mirror Group phone hacking trial.
Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images

Prince Harry has described the state of the British press and the government as both being at “rock bottom” and accused them of being “in bed” with one another.

The Duke of Sussex’s made the outspoken attack on the serving government – breaking royal protocol – as he entered the witness box in his claim against the publisher of the Daily Mirror.

Harry gave evidence on Tuesday at the high court in London in his lawsuit against the Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), which he accuses of phone-hacking and other unlawful acts.

In a witness statement, the prince said: “Democracy fails when your press fails to scrutinise and hold the government accountable, and instead choose to get into bed with them so they can ensure the status quo.

“In my view, in order to save journalism as a profession, journalists need to expose those people in the media that have stolen or highjacked the privileges and powers of the press, and have used illegal or unlawful means for their own gain and agendas.

“I feel that I need to make sure that this unlawful behaviour is exposed, because obviously I don’t want anybody else going through the same thing that I’ve been going through on a personal level.

“But also on a national level as, at the moment, our country is judged globally by the state of our press and our government – both of which I believe are at rock bottom.”

Sunak has refused to be drawn into a war of words with the Duke of Sussex over his claim.

The prime minister told reporters travelling with him to Washington: “As you know, we have a long-standing convention that prime ministers don’t comment on members of the royal family.”

Prince Harry alleges that about 140 articles published between 1996 and 2010 by MGN titles contained information gathered using unlawful methods, and 33 of these have been selected to be considered at the trial.

Andrew Green KC, for MGN, questioned Harry on about 20 of the 33 articles over the course of the hearing, which lasted nearly five hours.

Harry’s claim is being heard alongside three other “representative” claims during a trial which began last month and is due to last six to seven weeks.


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