'An ex-private investigator who was used by The Sunday Times has spoken about the criminal activity he was involved in to obtain information for the paper.
John Ford said he targeted politicians such as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown when they were in government.
He said his methods included "blagging" or pretending to be a bank or utilities account holder to get information.
The Sunday Times said it "strongly rejects" the claim that it had ever commissioned anyone to act illegally.
Mr Ford claims he was contracted by the paper between 1995 and 2010, during which time he said he targeted members of the Labour government elected in 1997 and members of the public.
Asked to describe the nature of his attacks on members of the cabinet, he responded: "Aggressive, unprincipled. Fishing expeditions often."
Talking about the techniques he used to get information, he said: "I did their phones, I did their mobiles, I did their bank accounts, I stole their rubbish.
"Hundreds of telephone interceptions, hundreds of bank interceptions.
"Utilities. I've been through mortgages. I've stolen rubbish. I'm afraid the list is endless."
Mr Ford's admissions come just days after the government scrapped the second phase of the Leveson Inquiry.
The first phase of the inquiry looked into the broad area of press ethics and the relationship between the press, politicians, police and the public.
The second phase was withheld in order to avoid prejudicing criminal trials which are now complete.
Explaining his decision to the Commons last week, Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said the second stage should not go ahead because it would be costly and deal with past failures.'
Read more: Murdoch’s Sunday Times: Explosive claims break that paper hired Private Investigators to spy on MPs
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16 September 2018
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