|Top Policemen Resign due to Neil Wallis Connection|
Two step down after arrest of Chiswick based former NotW executive
Two of Britain's most senior police officers have resigned after it emerged that Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, had benefited from hospitality from a client of Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World who has been arrested by officers investigating phone hacking.
Sir Paul said, "I have taken this decision as a consequence of the ongoing speculation and accusations relating to the Met's links with News International at a senior level and in particular in relation to Mr Neil Wallis, who as you know was arrested in connection with Operation Weeting last week."
Assistant Commissioner, John Yates resigned today (July 18th) following the departure of his boss on Sunday. He was responsible for checking the credentials of Neil Wallis before the Met. employed him. He had been informed that he was suspended pending an inquiry into his relationship with Mr. Wallis.
Mr. Wallis was arrested in the early hours of Thursday (14th July) morning at his Grove Park home. He was deputy editor of the News of the World when Andy Coulson was in charge of the paper. After Mr. Coulson's departure in 2007 he became executive editor but left the paper in 2009 to work for a public relations firm.
He was employed by the Metropolitan Police as a media adviser on a part-time basis from October 2009 to September 2010 whilst the Met's Deputy Director of Public Affairs was on extended sick leave. The Sunday Times this weekend reported that Sir Paul and his wife spent 20 nights at luxury health spa Champneys following surgery to remove a benign tumour earlier this year. The visit would have cost around £20,000 but Champneys waived the charge. The company was a PR client of Neil Wallis at the time.
Sir Paul is due to appear in front of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee tomorrow to answer questions about the Met's investigation into hacking.
He said, "I have heard suggestions that we must have suspected the alleged involvement of Mr Wallis in phone hacking. Let me say unequivocally that I did not and had no reason to have done so. I do not occupy a position in the world of journalism, I had no knowledge of the extent of this disgraceful practice and the repugnant nature of the selection of victims that is now emerging, nor of its apparent reach into senior levels."
The resignation could put David Cameron under further pressure over his links with News International. In the statement given on his resignation Sir Paul said, "Unlike Mr Coulson, Mr Wallis had not resigned from News of the World or, to the best of my knowledge been in any way associated with the original phone hacking investigation."
The Home Secretary is due to make a statement to the Commons about the relationship between the Metropolitan Police and Wallis's PR firm, Chamy Media the registered address of which is at Bolton Road in Chiswick.