Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer is the latest figure to become entangled in the telephone hacking scandal involving News International, the British news division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
The London Independent reported today (Monday) that the chancellor, George Osborne, was among those targeted by Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective working for NI's News of the World , the Sunday tabloid that was shut down in the wake of the scandal.
Also targeted, said the Independent , was former prostitute Natalie Rowe, who was photographed with Osborne at a party in 2005 with what appeared to be a sheet of paper with a line of cocaine in front of them.
The photograph was featured on the front of two "red-top" newspapers, the newspaper said, referring to the red ink used on the mastheads of scandal sheets like News of the World. Rowe, the Independent said, is due to be interviewed sometime this week on Australian television and may shed some light on the question of why Osborne subsequently recommended that Andy Coulson, the News of the World editor at the time the scandalous photo appeared, be appointed Prime Minister David Cameron's communications chief.
One broadcasting source was quoted by the Independent as remarking "Why put someone forward for a job, as Osborne did, when you know what a disservice they have done you?"