Hugh Grant arrives at the Leveson inquiry today alongside his lawyer David SherbourneCredit: Rebecca Naden/PA
The Mail on Sunday has hit back at Hugh Grant following the actor's appearance at the Leveson inquiry today, calling his allegations against the newspaper "mendacious smears driven by a hatred of the media".
Grant alleged during his evidence to the inquiry that the Sunday title obtained information for a February 2007 story about him by hacking his phone, a claim which was challenged by the inquiry counsel Robert Jay QC.
The story claimed that Grant's relationship with Jemima Khan was on the rocks due to him making late-night phone calls to a "plummy-voiced woman". Grant identified the woman in question as a studio assistant in the US, and said he spoke to her occasionally over the phone for business reasons.
He told the inquiry: "I cannot for the life of me think of any conceivable source for the story in the Mail on Sunday except those voice messages on my mobile phone."
The Mail on Sunday – which is published by Associated Newspapers – denied Grant's allegation, claiming that the story came from a source close to Khan.
"The Mail on Sunday utterly refutes Hugh Grant’s claim that they got any story as a result of phone hacking. In fact in the case of the story Mr Grant refers to the information came from a freelance journalist who had been told by a source who was regularly speaking to Jemima Khan.
"Mr Grant’s allegations are mendacious smears driven by his hatred of the media."
But Khan disputed the Mail on Sunday's version of events, claiming on Twitter that the story would not have come from anyone close and that the first she heard of the "plummy-voiced woman" was in the Mail.
"Mail on Sunday say a freelance journalist heard story about 'plummy voiced woman' from a source close to me.
"That's not true as the first time I heard anything about this was when I read about it in the MoS.
"The 'source' close to me must be psychic. The MoS claims that he/she gave them a story I knew nothing about till it was in the paper."
The Daily Mail also issued a statement in response to Grant's testimony, during which he alleged that the weekday edition secured information about the recent birth of his child from a source at the hospital.
"The Daily Mail unequivocally denies Hugh Grant’s allegations that it secured information about the birth of his child from a source at the hospital.
"In fact the information came from a source in his showbusiness circle more than two weeks AFTER the birth.
"We then spent a further two weeks seeking a response to the story from his publicists.
"None was forthcoming and indeed we did not publish anything until Grant’s publicist issued a statement describing the baby as the product of a 'fleeting affair'.
"Throughout the Mail behaved with total journalistic propriety."
An injunction was recently granted to protect the mother of Grant's baby daughter, Ting Lan Hong, who detailed being harassed by members of the press in the wake of the birth.
See Journalism.co.uk's full Leveson inquiry coverage at this link.