Another anomaly from Mazher Mahmood‘s evidence at the Leveson inquiry that he never employed a private detective after his extensive work with Southern Investigations in the 90s.
This is from 2009 when Tom Watson was asking questions as a member of the DCMS select committee about News of the World phone hacking
Right up unto 2009, while at News of the World, Mahmood commissioned a private investigator to stalk Tom Watson MP at a Labour Party conference.
Watson told the Leveson Inquiry that Mahmood – known as the ‘Fake Sheikh – hired Derek Webb to trail him in 2009, to establish whether he was having an affair.
Watson was then a prominent member of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee examining phone hacking at the News of the World. He claimed that News International had a vendetta against him after he spoke out against the company.
Webb – a former police officer and nicknamed ‘the silent shadow’ – followed Watson and another Labour MP for seven days during the Brighton conference, billing News of the World in excess of a £1000 for his services.
(Around the same time Webb was also surveilling key lawyers in the phone hacking scandal – Charlotte Harris and Mark Lewis)
Was this abortive investigation in the public interest or part of the task of the free press to expose corruption?
Or was it – like the legal moves involving the Attorney General and the Panorama expose of the Fake Sheikh – a politicized attempt to intimidate and silence critics through character assassination?
Read the emails below and come to your own conclusion: