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)
An email exchange published by the Independent on Sunday with Ian Edmondson and James Mellor , show that Mahmood was the source of the erroneous tip off.
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: