The Independent reports today that Glenn Mulcaire, the private detective jailed in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, had planned to write a book detailing his work with the newspaper.
The book was never written, because Mulcaire signed an £80,000 confidentiality agreement with the newspaper after he sued for wrongful dismissal following his conviction. But he did write a detailed, five-page synopsis of the book, provisionally titled Hear to Here: the Inside Story of the Royal Household Tapes and the Murky World of the Media.
There are two main claims. The first is that Mulcaire says that he received up to 20 calls a year from staff at the newspaper. This supports the conclusion of the judge who sentenced the investigator in January 2007: that Mulcaire must have dealt with “others at News International”, beyond the royal correspondent Clive Goodman.
The second is that Mulcaire states he was routinely commissioned by executives at News International, once again going against the “bad apple” narrative that the newspaper has established. The proposal promises that the book will reveal who ordered the taps, but does not do so itself.
Predictably, the News of the World declined to comment on the allegations, but they build the picture of a culture of wrongdoing. It should also increase the pressure on Andy Coulson. At PMQs just now, Nick Clegg gave a combative performance on the matter, saying that Coulson has denied knowledge of phone-hacking — but pointedly did not say that he believed his claims.
As my colleague James Macintyre reported yesterday, Coulson’s days could be numbered.