On the day on which Alastair Campbell, one-time director of communications to Tony Blair, settles his claim for damages against News Group Newspapers, it’s worth noting an interesting family connection between Campbell and the lawyers involved.
Gavin Millar QC – who long-time readers may remember represented Phil Woolas in the election court which kicked him out of Parliament – is Alastair Campbell’s brother in law (Campbell’s wife, Fiona Millar is Mr Millar’s sister).
Yet Mr Millar is representing Glenn Mulcaire, the former News of the World journalist who went to prison for the hacking of phones. And as Mr Campbell makes clear on his website, he was not only suing the newspaper owners but Mulcaire himself:
As has just been announced at the High Court, News Group Newspapers have admitted that the News of the World intercepted messages on my mobile phone in 2006, and have apologised and agreed to pay damages and costs for the procedings I brought against them and private detective Glenn Mulcaire last year.
But this interesting tale doesn’t end there. One of the solicitors representing hacking victims is Gerald Shamash. Shamash is very closely involved with the Labour party, and was another member of Phil Woolas’s legal team along with Mr Millar. He also accompanied Alastair Campbell when he gave evidence at the Leveson inquiry (see picture; Shamash is in the centre of the picture, sat to Campbell’s left).
So not only are two key members of Phil Woolas’s legal team from September 2010 involved in the hacking cases, they are representing opposing parties, while Alastair Campbell has just received a settlement after suing Glenn Mulcaire, who is being represented by his brother-in-law. Nothing wrong in all that, of course, but it’s interesting nonetheless.