Rogue PIs: MPs Delay Releasing Client Names
MPs have postponed their planned release of a list of clients of rogue private detectives until they hear evidence from the Information Commissioner.
Data watchdog Christopher Graham will appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday to answer questions about the so-called "blue-chip hacking" row.
Chairman Keith Vaz demanded last week that the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) released the clients' names but its director general Trevor Pearce refused.
MPs, who were given the list by police earlier this year on the grounds they would remain anonymous, initially vowed to publish them themselves on Monday but will now wait.
Mr Vaz said: "Following representations that the Committee has received from the Information Commissioner, we have called him to give evidence to the Committee on Tuesday.
"We will hear his views on the issue of the publication of the Soca list and related matters."
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has launched an investigation into the firms and individuals involved after receiving a list of 98 names from Soca.
A further nine clients' details have been withheld at the request of the Metropolitan Police.
The list features law firms, insurance companies, financial services groups and celebrities and was drawn up as part of Soca's inquiry into private eyes - Operation Millipede.
Writing in a blog, Mr Graham said: "It's not clever to start a criminal investigation by publishing the names of everyone and everything you're investigating.
"That's why we've stated we're not publishing the list at this stage, and why I've written to Keith Vaz MP to urge similar patience on the part of his Select Committee."
Scotland Yard said it has intelligence to suggest 118 companies or individuals were clients of private investigators suspected of breaking the law.
Of these, 59 have been investigated and 21 prosecuted. Another 25 are under current investigation, and there is insufficient evidence to justify action against 13.