Grant’s best performance yet… on Question Time
Actor Hugh Grant proves a huge hit for ‘speaking fearlessly and plainly’
Actor Hugh Grant, who over recent months has waged a crusade against phone hacking, won resounding applause during yesterday's Question Time when he called the Murdochs' closure of the News of the World a "cynical manoeuvre".
Although he seemed a little out of place on the panel alongside employment minister Chris Grayling, shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, Baroness Shirley Williams and radio presenter Jon Gaunt, he held his own, winning praise across the internet for his outspoken criticism of what he called a "protection racket".
One user tweeted: "I never thought I'd write the words "Hugh Grant gives me more hope for the future of democracy than Barack Obama". But sh*t, there they are." While Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles wrote: "Hugh Grant making Jon Gaunt look like a fool on BBC1 is gripping television."
Another wrote: "Dear politicians - you see how Hugh Grant is speaking fearlessly and plainly? This is what the public wants."
The floppy-haired Four Weddings and a Funeral star seems to be following in the footsteps of ex-girlfriend Jemima Khan - who has been helping out Wikileaks' Julian Assange - by going out of his way to be associated with politics rather than celebrity tittle-tattle.
It was in a special April edition of the New Statesman, edited by Khan, that Grant first put himself firmly at the centre of the phone hacking storm when he revealed that former NotW features editor Paul McMullan had told him that Rebekah Brooks "absolutely" knew about the practice.
McMullan also told Grant – according to the actor - that "20 per cent of the [Metropolitan police] have taken backhanders from tabloid hacks".
Not everyone was left gushing over Grant's performance last night. Piers Morgan, a former NotW editor who Grant riled back in May after he said all tabloid press were "completely unnecessary", tweeted: "You don't have to have any sympathy for the News of the World to think Hugh Grant's being a screechy, sanctimonious little prick."