Reduced to tears over son’s story in the press

Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave his address to the Scottish Labour Party conference at the Caird Hall, Dundee. 6th March 2009. Picture by JANE BARLOW
Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave his address to the Scottish Labour Party conference at the Caird Hall, Dundee. 6th March 2009. Picture by JANE BARLOW
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KIRKCALDY MP Gordon Brown said he was shocked and disgusted after stories about his son’s medical condition led to him being embroiled in the phone hacking scandal this week.

The former Prime Minister became involved in the increasingly messy affair when evidence emerged that his family may have been targeted by News International in a bid for private information.

Mr Brown said he was “shocked by the level of criminality” alleged to have taken place in order to obtain information about his son Fraser’s cystic fibrosis diagnosis and his own financial and legal affairs.

The Sun newspaper, owned by News International, has vehemently denied that a front-page story in 2006, revealing Fraser’s condition was obtained by illegal means, and on Wednesday the newspaper said Mr Brown’s claims were “a smear”.

Mr Brown said he was “in tears” when he was told the newspaper was going to run the story.

Upset

He added that he and his wife Sarah were both “incredibly upset” at the prospect of details about their son, just four months old at the time, being broadcast across the media.

The MP’s details are confirmed to be on a list compiled by private investigator for News of the World, Glenn Mulcaire.

On Tuesday News International released a statement saying The Sun did not access medical records, nor commission anyone to do so, but instead got the information from someone who wanted to highlight the condition.

However, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust said: “The release of any medical information to the media or anyone else is a decision for patients or, in the case of children, their parents.

‘‘The Trust does not condone the release or publication of such information, without express permission, regardless of their motivation.”

Intrusion

A Brown family spokesman said: “Gordon has now been informed of the scale of intrusion into his family’s life.

‘’The family has been shocked by the level of criminality and the unethical means by which personal details have been obtained. The matter is in police hands - the police have confirmed Mr Brown is on Glen Mulcaire’s list.”

NHS Fife said it has rigorous systems in place to ensure medical records are not easily accessed for unlawful reasons:

“Whatever the motivation for inappropriately accessing patient records, from simple curiosity through to criminal intent, all breaches of the IT Security Policy are investigated, disciplinary action is taken and consideration is given to legal proceedings against the offender.”