The head of Scotland Yard, Metropolitan Police Service commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, and assistant commissioner John Yates have resigned over the fallout from the News of the World phone hacking scandal.
Stephenson resigned Sunday due to his ties to Neil Wallis, a former News of the World deputy editor, who was hired by Scotland Yard to work as communications adviser in 2009. Mr Wallis, an editor during the period when the alleged phone hacking was widespread at the newspaper, was arrested last Thursday and questioned by Scotland Yard detectives over his involvement in the phone-hacking affair.
Stephenson, head of Metropolitan Police Service, since 2009, which is also known as the Met or Scotland Yard, said that he had decided to step down because “the ongoing speculation and accusations relating to the Met’s links with News International at a senior level” had made it difficult for him to do his job.
Assistant commissioner Yates, Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer, resigned today over his handling of the original phone hacking inquiry in 2007 and his decision not to reopen the investigation. Last week Mr. Yates admitted to a parliamentary inquiry looking into the scandal, that his decision not to reopen the investigation was in retrospect “a poor one”.
The News of the World paper, a subsidiary of News International, was closed for good last week. News International is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s media empire News Corp.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has cut short a visit to South Africa in order to return home as his government faces a growing number of questions about its relationship with Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. Murdoch, his son James and Ms. Brooks, former CEO of News International, are set to testify at the parliamentary inquiry into the phone hacking scandal Tuesday.
In the latest twist in the ongoing saga, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, Britain’s anti-fraud agency, said Monday it was giving “full consideration” to a request from a lawmaker that it open an investigation into Murdoch’s News Corp.