Disgraced former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne has claimed that the media stories which led to his downfall were "payback" for his support for investigations into allegations of hacking by Rupert Murdoch's newspapers.
Mr Huhne, who quit Parliament after being jailed for persuading his then wife to take his speeding points, called on the Government to consider statutory limitations on newspaper ownership to increase media diversity and reduce Mr Murdoch's influence on the political process.
Writing in The Guardian, the ex-Energy Secretary claimed that the News of the World hired a private investigator to put him under surveillance in 2009 to gain information about his affair after he spoke out about hacking. He claimed that a second Murdoch newspaper, the Sunday Times, "groomed" his ex-wife Vicky Pryce until she told them about the speeding points.
"Why was News International prepared to invest so much to tail an opposition Liberal Democrat back in 2009?," he asked. "Maybe it was coincidence, but that summer I was the only frontbencher who, with Nick Clegg's brave backing, called for the Metropolitan Police to reopen the voicemail hacking inquiry into Rupert Murdoch's empire.
"Given that I was falling in love with someone who was not my wife, you might think that it was an act of folly to court Murdoch's hostility, but the journalist in me rebelled. Publish and be damned. If I was not in Parliament to speak out when I saw an abuse, why was I there?
"The News of the World sparked the end of my marriage, but another Murdoch title, the Sunday Times, then groomed my ex-wife until she told them about the speeding points."
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Huhne acknowledged that he had made himself "vulnerable" by asking his wife to take speeding points which would otherwise have cost him his driving licence.
But he added: "Sometimes newspaper groups, media groups, have their own interests as well. Murdoch in particular is exceptionally powerful and over many, many years, he has played the person rather than the issue and he has also used that political influence to bulldoze a way for his business interests."
He added: "I don't have any issue with the fact that whatever happened I was fair game from the point of view of an investigation. That's exactly what would have happened anyway. All I'm pointing out is that the way in which this was specifically done was a very clear payback for the fact that I... wasn't able to resist going public on how the police should reopen the investigation into voicemail hacking and the Murdoch press."
Urging the Government to consider changes to media ownership rules, he told The Guardian: "Ultimately, the new media aggression is not just a problem for those individuals directly affected, it is a problem for us all. Media ownership must be more diverse because it is the lifeblood of public debate."