The fallout of the phone hacking scandal on Monday spread to Scotland Yard forcing its top boss Paul Stephenson and another senior officer John Yates to resign over their links with News International, Rupert Murdoch’s British media group.
They resigned after it emerged that Scotland Yard employed a former deputy editor of the now defunct News of the World Neil Wallis as an adviser even as it was investigating the newspaper for hacking allegations. Mr. Wallis was arrested last week for his alleged involvement in illegally accessing voicemails during his time at NoW.
Sir Paul, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and Britain’s most senior police officer, was also criticised for accepting free hospitality from a luxury health resort promoted by Mr. Wallis.
In a statement, he claimed he had no knowledge of Mr. Wallis’ alleged role in hacking when he hired him in 2009. Nor had Mr. Wallis anything to do with his free stay at the health spa.
Sir Paul took a potshots at Prime Minister David Cameron who hired a former NoW editor Andy Coulson to be his communications chief after he quit paper in the wake of hacking allegations. Mr. Coulson was arrested recently and is on bail.
“Unlike Mr. Coulson, Mr. Wallis had not resigned from the News of the World, or to the best of my knowledge, been in any way associated with the original phone hacking investigation,” Sir Paul said forcing Mr. Cameron to deny any comparison between the two cases.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, however, said people would “wonder at why different rules apply for the Prime Minister and the Met”.
The resignation of Mr. Yates, an assistant commissioner of police, came after being told that he would be suspended and referred to the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), for his unsatisfactory investigation of hacking allegations. He was criticised for not reopening the investigation in 2009 despite fresh leads prompting questions about his links with the Murdoch press.
Ms. Brooks, who was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of hacking and corruption, denied she was guilty of any “criminal offence”. She was released on bail after being questioned for more than nine hours. Her lawyer confirmed she would appear before the House of Commons media committee to answer questions about the scandal. Mr. Rupert Murdoch and his son James, chairman of NI, would also give evidence to the committee.