News International payouts: photo gallery

News International has paid out more than £600,000 in damages to 18 victims of phone hacking, plus l

A dizzying number of celebrities, public figures, and ordinary people caught up in the crossfire were sucked into the phone-hacking scandal last year. And hacked phones have resulted in legal cases. Lots of them.

Indeed, in April last year, News International set up a £20m compensation scheme in an attempt to settle the claims before they reached the high court. Today, some of those settlements were announced.

Here is a full list of the payouts announced today (including those in the photo gallery above, and some others):

- Jude Law, actor: £130,000
- Sadie Frost, actress and former wife of Law: £50,000

- Ben Jackson, former assistant to Law: £40,000

- Ciara Parkes, former PR consultant to Law and Sienna Miller: £35,000

- John Prescott, former deputy Prime Minister: £40,000

- Joan Hammell, former chief of staff to Prescott: £30,000

- Denis Macshane, Labour MP and former Europe minister: £32,000

- Joan Smith, author and journalist who had a relationship with Macshane: £27,500

- Gavin Henson, Welsh rugby player and former husband of Charlotte Church: £40,000

- Chris Bryant, Labour MP: £30,000

- Ashley Cole, footballer, formerly married to Cheryl Cole: undisclosed

- Guy Pelly, friend of Prince Harry’s: £40,000

- Lisa Gower, who allegedly had an affair with Steve Coogan: £30,000

- Tom Rowland, property lawyer: £25,000

- Graham Shear, football lawyer: £25,000

- Christopher Shipman, son of Harold: undisclosed "substantial" amount

- Clare Ward, Labour MP: undisclosed

- Anonymous claimant HJK: £60,000

All in all, it's been rather an expensive day for News International -- particularly bearing in mind that these amounts are on top of legal costs. Several other settlements have already been made with celebrities including Ulrika Jonnson, Calum Best and James Hewitt.

And it's not over yet. On 13 February, a full hearing will take place at the High Court. Those claimants are Sky Andrew, Laura Rooney, Charlotte Church, Steve Coogan, Simon Hughes MP, Tracey Temple, Kieran Fallon, Pete Doherty, Sally King, Andrew King and John Anderson, Samantha Wallin

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty Images
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The Fire Brigades Union reaffiliates to Labour - what does it mean?

Any union rejoining Labour will be welcomed by most in the party - but the impact on the party's internal politics will be smaller than you think.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has voted to reaffiliate to the Labour party, in what is seen as a boost to Jeremy Corbyn. What does it mean for Labour’s internal politics?

Firstly, technically, the FBU has never affliated before as they are notionally part of the civil service - however, following the firefighters' strike in 2004, they decisively broke with Labour.

The main impact will be felt on the floor of Labour party conference. Although the FBU’s membership – at around 38,000 – is too small to have a material effect on the outcome of votes themselves, it will change the tenor of the motions put before party conference.

The FBU’s leadership is not only to the left of most unions in the Trades Union Congress (TUC), it is more inclined to bring motions relating to foreign affairs than other unions with similar politics (it is more internationalist in focus than, say, the PCS, another union that may affiliate due to Corbyn’s leadership). Motions on Israel/Palestine, the nuclear deterrent, and other issues, will find more support from FBU delegates than it has from other affiliated trade unions.

In terms of the balance of power between the affiliated unions themselves, the FBU’s re-entry into Labour politics is unlikely to be much of a gamechanger. Trade union positions, elected by trade union delegates at conference, are unlikely to be moved leftwards by the reaffiliation of the FBU. Unite, the GMB, Unison and Usdaw are all large enough to all-but-guarantee themselves a seat around the NEC. Community, a small centrist union, has already lost its place on the NEC in favour of the bakers’ union, which is more aligned to Tom Watson than Jeremy Corbyn.

Matt Wrack, the FBU’s General Secretary, will be a genuine ally to Corbyn and John McDonnell. Len McCluskey and Dave Prentis were both bounced into endorsing Corbyn by their executives and did so less than wholeheartedly. Tim Roache, the newly-elected General Secretary of the GMB, has publicly supported Corbyn but is seen as a more moderate voice at the TUC. Only Dave Ward of the Communication Workers’ Union, who lent staff and resources to both Corbyn’s campaign team and to the parliamentary staff of Corbyn and McDonnell, is truly on side.

The impact of reaffiliation may be felt more keenly in local parties. The FBU’s membership looks small in real terms compared Unite and Unison have memberships of over a million, while the GMB and Usdaw are around the half-a-million mark, but is much more impressive when you consider that there are just 48,000 firefighters in Britain. This may make them more likely to participate in internal elections than other affiliated trade unionists, just 60,000 of whom voted in the Labour leadership election in 2015. However, it is worth noting that it is statistically unlikely most firefighters are Corbynites - those that are will mostly have already joined themselves. The affiliation, while a morale boost for many in the Labour party, is unlikely to prove as significant to the direction of the party as the outcome of Unison’s general secretary election or the struggle for power at the top of Unite in 2018. 

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.