18 Jul 2011

LIVE BLOG: John Yates resigns from Metropolitan Police

With today’s resignation of Assistant Commissioner John Yates, following yesterday’s decision by Sir Paul Stephenson to stand down, is the Metropolitan Police now a “rudderless ship”?

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who has resigned over his role in the phone-hackings scandal (Reuters)

• Metropolitan Police Assistant Commssioner John Yates resigns

• Home Secretary Theresa May announces review of corruption in the police

• Commons summer recess postponed until Wednesday to debate phone hacking

• Ed Miliband: Cameron ‘compromised’ by decision to employ Andy Coulson

• Rebekah Brooks’s solicitor issues statement criticising her arrest by the Met

Phone hacking scandal and the Met Police
Twitter bird

@arusbridger: “BREAKING: Reporter who blew whistle on NoW phone-hacking found dead http://bit.ly/q91ipM

17.55: Latest reports suggest the “daughter of a friend” for whom John Yates secured a job was, in fact, the daughter of Neil Wallis, former News of the World deputy editor. Neil Wallis was employed by the Met as a consultant on a part-time basis between 2009 and 2010. Mr Wallis was cited by former Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson in his resignation statement on Sunday.

17.34: The conduct of four senior or former Metropolitan Police officers has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. John Yates will be investigated over his decision not to reopen the phone hacking inquiry when he reviewed it in 2009, and also for allegedly inappropriately securing a job for the daughter of a friend.

Extract from John Yates's resignation statement
"Sadly, there continues to be a huge amount of inaccurate, ill-informed and on occasion downright malicious gossip published about me personally. This has the potential to be a significant distraction in my current role as the national lead for counter-terrorism.

"I see no prospect of this improving in the coming weeks and months as we approach one of the most important events in the history of the Metropolitan Police Service, the 2012 Olympic Games.
"The threats that we face in the modern world are such that I would never forgive myself if I was unable to give total commitment to the task of protecting London and the country during this period. I simply cannot let this situation continue.

"It is a matter of great personal frustration that despite my efforts, on a number of occasions, to explain the true facts surrounding my role in these matters since 2009, there remains confusion about what exactly took place.

"I have acted with complete integrity and my conscience is clear. I look forward to the future judge-led inquiry where my role will be examined in a proper and calmer environment and where my actions will be judged on the evidence rather than on innuendo and speculation, as they are at present."

17.20: John Yates gives a statement on his resignation. “It is a matter of great personal frustration… there remains confusion about what exactly took place (in 2009). I have acted with complete integrity. My conscience is clear,” he says.

Mr Yates calls for his actions to judged on the evidence, not on the basis of innuendo and speculation. And he speaks of his “deep regret” of his resignation.

16.45: David Cameron is to cut short his visit to Africa to ensure that he can take part in the parliamentary debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday morning. Earlier today it was announced that the Commons summer recess would be postponed for an extra day to allow Parliament to debate the latest developments in the phone hacking scandal.

16.02: Home Secretary Theres May pledges a review of corruption within the police force. “I can tell the House that I have asked HM Inspectorate of Constabulary to consider instances of indue influence… in police relationships with the media and other parties,” she announces to the House of Commons.

The Home Secretary is also to consult with the Independent Police Complaints Commission to examine whether it needs more power and whether it should be part of the inquiry into phone hacking to be led by Lord Leveson.

Below: Home Secretary Theresa May’s statement to the House of Commons

Twitter bird

@johnprescott: “So Yates is the latest green bottle to fall. Let’s hope the new Met will get to the bottom of this. No more business as usual.”

15.55: Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper calls on Theresa May to apologise to the House for the Prime Minister’s misjudgement in appointing Andy Coulson as his head of communications.

15.48: The Home Secretary concludes her statement: “It is for the sake of the many thousands of honourable police officers and staff… that we must get to the bottom of these allegations.”

It is for the same of the many thousands of honourable police officers… that we must get to the bottom of these allegations, Theresa May, Home Secretary

Her Labour opposite number, Yvette Cooper MP, states that Sir Paul Stephenson’s departure raises questions for the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister. “She has been completely silent” on the appointment of Neil Wallis, former deputy editor of the News of the World, by the Met.

“The judgement of the Met has been called into serious question by apopinting Neil Wallis, but so has the judgement of the Prime Minister by appointing neil Wallis’s boss, Andy Coulson,” according to the shadow home secretary.

15.40: Theresa May begins her statement on the resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson as Metropolitan Police Commissioner. “The Met is stronger operationally today than it was when he took over,” she says.

She announces that Bernard Hogan-Howe, former chief constable of Merseyside Police, is to become Deputy Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

15.35: Nick Clegg, speaking at a press conference, denies that the phone-hacking scandal is about the Prime Minister’s position.

Home Secretary Theresa May is due to make a statement in the Commons shortly.

15.09: Labour MP Chris Bryant, speaking on BBC News in the wake of the resignations of Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates, asks: is there one set of rules for the police and another for politicians?

Cressida Dick, who is to replace John Yates as assistant commissioner at the Met, came to the fore in the wake of the police shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005. She became the first female assistant commissioner in 2009.

14.45: The Metropolitan Police Authority has confirmed that John Yates resigned as Assistant Commissioner after being told he would be suspended as his conduct was being referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

14.26: Speaking from City Hall, London Mayor Boris Johnson says “the right call has been made” in the resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates.

He tells a press conference John Yates has done “a remarkable job” in making London safe in the face of terrorist threats. He announces that Mr Yates will be replaced by Cressida Dick.

Deputy Commissioner Tim Godwin is to be Sir Paul Stephenson’s interim replacement, says the London Mayor.

Boris Johnson: “Now is the time to get to the bottom of all these questions and give a new commissioner plenty of time to get his or her feet under the desk, build on the outstanding work of these two men, and make London ever safer” in the run-up to the Olympic Games.

Now is the time to get to the bottom of all these questions and give a new commissioner plenty of time… and make London ever safer. Boris Johnson, London Mayor

Gary Gibbon, for Channel 4 News, asks Boris Johnson what exactly it is that John Yates did wrong to merit his resignation. “The exact circumstances surrounding the decision of the MPA standards committee this morning to suspend him, I don’t know,” replies Johnson.

Gary Gibbon questions Boris Johnson’s statement that he accepted Paul Stephenson’s resignation “with reluctance”. The London Mayor replies that he had been caught up in a series of decisions relating to the handling of the Met’s relationship to the News of the World.

“What Paul couldn’t face was the idea of this protracted inquiry into his relationships with the News of the World… at a time when he wanted to concentrate on the policing of London.”

Jon Snow asks Boris Johnson whether there was any political input in the decision to close down the News of the World. “I was disappointed that we weren’t told about the contract with the News of the World guy, and I made my views known.”

14.25: Scotland Yard has been described as a “rudderless ship” as it reels from the resignation of two senior officers within 24 hours.

14.13: John Yates has resigned as Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner. Before the phone-hacking scandal, he had been known as the Met’s “safe pair of hands”. The Met has lost two of its most senior officers within the last 24 hours.

Mr Yates is due to make a statement explaining his decision later this afternoon.

13.50pm: The phone-hacking scandal continues to gather momentum. Already today the Prime Minister, David Cameron, has announced the Commons summer recess will be postponed until Wednesday in order to debate the latest developments.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police Authority’s standards committee is due shortly to make a statement on the future of Assistant Commissioner John Yates who, it has emerged, was responsible for vetting former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis before he was hired as a consultant for the Met.

Earlier today Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, accused David Cameron of being “compromised” over his decision to employee Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor who was arrested on 8 July in connection with phone hacking.

Speaking alongside President Jacob Zuma at a press conference in South Africa this morning, Prime Minister David Cameron made a distinction between his decision to employ Andy Coulson and the Met’s use of Neil Wallis. “At the Metropolitan Police the issues have been around whether or not the investigation is being pursued properly,” Mr Cameron said. “I don’t believe the two situations are the same in any shape or form.”