Top Civil Servant Reportedly Asked to Reveal Extent of Scottish Government Phone Hacking

Scotland's top civil servant has been reportedly asked to reveal the extent of any phone hacking of Scottish Government phones.

The request – from Scottish Lib Dem leader, Willie Rennie, and which has also been made to a senior police officer – comes after repeated attempts by Scottish Parliament opposition leaders to persuade First Minister, Alex Salmond, to reveal whether he has been a victim of phone hacking by the News of the World newspaper, which last year closed down amid allegations of phone hacking.

The civil servant named in a report in today's Herald (page 6) is Scottish Permanent Secretary, Sir Peter Housden. The police officer is Detective Superintendent, John McSporran, who is heading a Strathclyde Police investigation into alleged phone hacking called Operation Rubicon.

Salmond has consistently said he will explain himself to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards, which was set up following the demise of the News of the World. He is due to appear at Leveson next month.

Last month, the Sunday Mail reported that former First Minister, Jack McConnell, may have been a victim of phone hacking, with the tale soon followed by a report in sister title, the Daily Record, that Salmond aide, Joan McAlpine MSP, may have been similarly a victim.

The Herald quotes Rennie as saying: “Alex Salmond seems to be more interested in grandstanding at the Leveson Inquiry than addressing serious concerns about the potential impact on Government business of his phone being hacked.”