Hugh Grant at the Leveson Inquiry: The full evidence

The actor on press intimidation and intrusion.

Hugh Grant has expanded on claims that reporters subjected the mother of his child to 'harassing and frightening" behaviour in the days after the baby's birth.

The actor's full testimony to the Leveson inquiry into press standards has been published on its website, and can be downloaded in PDF form (parts one, two and supplementary evidence here).

In it, the actor claims that reporters obtained the mobile phone number of his American publicist - "a number she keeps famously private" as well as that of Tinglan Hong, the mother of his child. "In the end the calls and texts. . . became so persistent and disturbing, especially to a woman recovering from childbirth, that she was forced to change her number."

Grant added that several newspapers tried to find "dirt" on Tinglan Hong. "Articles appeared making snide remarks about her being an 'actress'. . . a mistake made by one of the papers early on, who confused her with a Chinese actress I had once met for about five minutes a year ago in China. But all the papers copied the mistake out faithfully as fact, and used it to imply that she was either a failed actress because the internet showed no credits for her, that she had false pretensions, or that the term was a gloss for something worse."

After setting out "ten myths of journalism", the actor also reflected on his treatment by the tabloid press after he wrote about hacking in the New Statesman in April.

Of one piece by Mail columnist Amanda Platell, he wrote: "in the space of one 1,300 word piece . . . she accused me of being lonely, bitter, oleaginous, misogynistic, self-obsessed, irresponsible, insensitive, uncaring and in 'tawdry, inexorable decline'".

In the course of his evidence, the actor focused several times on the behaviour of the Mail and Mail on Sunday, forcing both papers to issue denials of his claims -- first, that the Mail on Sunday could have used phone hacking for a story in 2007, and second that the Mail obtained the hospital records of Tinglan Hong.

Grant began his evidence by writing: "Growing up, if my brother or I happened to have bought a copy of the News of the World my mother would say, "How can you bring that filth into this house?" Then, after a pause: "After you with it." And I suppose that was my attitude to papers like the News of the World for the first 33 years of my life. It's probably the attitude of most people. (Or was, until July.) That they were a bit of largely harmless fun."

He concluded: "The tabloids talk a lot these days about freedom of expression. But criticism of themselves has never been allowed. That is why they have had so little of it for so long."

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Why relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond became tense so quickly

The political imperative of controlling immigration is clashing with the economic imperative of maintaining growth. 

There is no relationship in government more important than that between the prime minister and the chancellor. When Theresa May entered No.10, she chose Philip Hammond, a dependable technocrat and long-standing ally who she had known since Oxford University. 

But relations between the pair have proved far tenser than anticipated. On Wednesday, Hammond suggested that students could be excluded from the net migration target. "We are having conversations within government about the most appropriate way to record and address net migration," he told the Treasury select committee. The Chancellor, in common with many others, has long regarded the inclusion of students as an obstacle to growth. 

The following day Hammond was publicly rebuked by No.10. "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included," a spokesman said (as I reported in advance, May believes that the public would see this move as "a fix"). 

This is not the only clash in May's first 100 days. Hammond was aggrieved by the Prime Minister's criticisms of loose monetary policy (which forced No.10 to state that it "respects the independence of the Bank of England") and is resisting tougher controls on foreign takeovers. The Chancellor has also struck a more sceptical tone on the UK's economic prospects. "It is clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer," he declared in his conference speech, a signal that national prosperity must come before control of immigration. 

May and Hammond's relationship was never going to match the remarkable bond between David Cameron and George Osborne. But should relations worsen it risks becoming closer to that beween Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Like Hammond, Darling entered the Treasury as a calm technocrat and an ally of the PM. But the extraordinary circumstances of the financial crisis transformed him into a far more assertive figure.

In times of turmoil, there is an inevitable clash between political and economic priorities. As prime minister, Brown resisted talk of cuts for fear of the electoral consequences. But as chancellor, Darling was more concerned with the bottom line (backing a rise in VAT). By analogy, May is focused on the political imperative of controlling immigration, while Hammond is focused on the economic imperative of maintaining growth. If their relationship is to endure far tougher times they will soon need to find a middle way. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.