The Assistant Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, John Yates, followed the fate of his boss on Monday 18th July 2011 when he resigned from his post. The news fuelled afternoon questions in the House of Commons where Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was forced to update her statement to MPs and faced a barrage of questioning from the opposition.
In a statement, AC Yates defended his reputation and integrity:
“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.”
The maelstrom surrounding news that tabloid journalists and Met police officers enjoyed relationships amounting to a conflict of interest has even led to insinuations about the position of the UK Prime Minister and Rupert Murdoch.
The UK Prime Minister is being attacked by Labour politicians for playing down suggestions that there is any parallel between the two police officers’ resignations for hiring Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of News of the World, and David Cameron’s own position in hiring Andy Coulson, the former editor of News of the World.
Rupert Murdoch, meanwhile, is facing the innuendo of the only other major player in the UK media market – the BBC. A recent report in the Beeb used a classicly underhand tactic of publishing a denial: “News Corporation has denied reports it was holding a meeting to discuss a replacement for Rupert Murdoch as CEO of the company”.
The NewsCorp chief, his son and Rebekah Brooks – who was arrested on Sunday – will all answer questions in Parliament at a select committee hearing on Tuesday afternoon.
Further revelations about the role of another News of The World executive, Alex Marunchak, who worked as a freelance Ukrainian-language interpreter at the Met police, have resulted in the Met Police issuing a statement saying that their language services department is now looking into the matter.
The resignation of Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson on Sunday had rocked Westminster and the stability of the UK’s largest police force. The immediate resignation of his deputy, however, created chaos in the leadership of the UK’s security forces.
The Home Secretary had already been undermined by the revelation that Sir Paul felt unable to disclose a conflict of interest during Operation Weeting because of the Prime Minister’s close relationship with Andy Coulson, who still visited David Cameron’s weekend home as a friend after leaving his post in Downing Street.