Examination of Witness (Question numbers
Chair: Order. May I welcome Sir Paul
Stephenson? Sir Paul, you are still the Commissioner of the Metropolitan
Sir Paul Stephenson: That is my
Chair: Excellent. I refer everyone present
to the Register of Members' Financial Interests. In particular,
for the purposes of this session, I declare that I met you, and
we were both guests, at the police bravery awards, which were
hosted by the Police Federation and sponsored by The Sun; that
you and I both know Stephen Purdew, the owner of Champneys; and
that I was invited to the News International summer party recently,
but I did not attend. Are there any other interests that Members
need to declare, directly or indirectly?
Alun Michael: Chair, I attended the police
bravery event. I am not sure whether that is a declarable interest,
but I did. For the avoidance of doubt, my son is the chief executive
of the North Wales police authority.
Q645 Chair: Thank you very
much. Sir Paul, thank you for coming. Can I place on record my
appreciation to you? I know that these are difficult times, but
when I spoke to you last Thursday and invited you to attend this
Committee meeting, you did so readily, agreeing the time immediately.
You said to me that if events progressed, you would have to make
a statement during that time, but I appreciate the fact that you
have always come to Parliament first and been prepared to answer
questions from Members of this House, specifically members of
Can you tell the Committee why you resigned,
bearing in mindwe have all read your statement very carefullythat
there has been, in your words, no impropriety in what has happened;
that you feel that you have done absolutely nothing wrong; and
that you have had no direct involvement as far as the two investigations
and the so-called review of the investigation are concerned? You
felt that you should resign. Why did you do so?
Sir Paul Stephenson: You say that
you and everyone else has read, or heard, my statement, and I
am quite sure that you did; I think I was quite explicit about
the reasons. I think I was very clear. When I took this post,
I made it very clear that I would never, or never willingly, allow
the story to be about me, the leader, as opposed to what the people
who work for me do. I was always very clear about that. I saw
the consequences of that previously and the distraction it can
cause, and I think that that is wrong. A leader should always
be looking to that. That is the first thing. Clearly, there were
significant stories about me.
In the context of the job that I do, I might
have considered it for a little longer, but I think we are in
extraordinary times. We are in the Olympic year, and we have a
short run-up to the Olympics. It is a very sad decision for me,
but in the run-up to the Olympics, if there is going to be continuing
speculation around the position of the Commissioner, and stories
continue to distract, then if I was going to do something, I had
to do it speedily. In the words of William ShakespeareI
hope I quote him right "If 'twere best it were done,
'twere well it were done quickly". I had to take a decision,
on behalf of the organisation, to allow the relevant authorities,
if they were going to put someone else in place in time, to have
a firm hold on the helm and lead the Met through its biggest challenges;
I had to do it quickly. It is regrettable, but I had to do that
in the Olympic year.
Q646 Chair: We will come on,
in this session, to explore the issue of your relationship with
Mr Wallis and why you employed him. We have other witnesses coming
in later. We will then look into the previous investigations and
your role in that, but if we could first just concentrate further
on the resignation. When I spoke to you at about 6 o'clock on
Thursday, resignation did not seem to be in your mind. You had
met the Mayor, and you had spoken, I assume, to the Home Secretary.
Is it that they did not give you the support to stay on following
the conversations with them? You did not sound as if you were
in a resignation mood when you spoke to me. When did you make
up your mind that you had to go?
Sir Paul Stephenson: There has
been much speculation on whether I was supported or not. I have
to say that I have received the full support of the Home Secretary,
the Mayor, Kit Malthouse, and, as far as I am aware, the Prime
Minister. I have seen the comments that they have made since my
regulation. I guess I became much clearer when I was contacted
on Saturday about the Champneys story, for which I am not apologetic
at all, by the way. When I became aware that Mr WallisI
know you will understand this, Chair, but I have to remind everyone
that while he has been arrested and bailed, I should say nothing
that prejudices his rightswas in some way connected with
Champneys, I thought that that was a very difficult story. It
was very unfortunate for me. I had no knowledge previously. That,
together with everything else, made me think, "This will
be a significant story. It will continue. If I am going to be
a leader and do the right thing by my organisation, I think I
have to do something that is very painful."
Q647 Chair: But as far as
you are concerned, nobody asked you to go. You made this decision
yourself. Neither the Mayor, the Home Secretary, nor the Prime
Minister felt that your position was untenable. You have told
this Committee just now that they gave you support for the work
that you were doing. Is that right?
Sir Paul Stephenson: That is absolutely
right, Chair. In reality, when I spoke to the Home Secretary and
the Mayor, the Mayor accepted it very reluctantly; he thought
it was wrong, and he said that to me again the following day.
The Home Secretary was clearly very shocked and very saddened.
She also stated that she regretted my decision. It was my decision
and my decision only, Chairno one else's. If I may say
so, it was against the advice of many, many colleagues, and indeed
Q648 Chair: Did any of them
say, "Please don't go, please stay. You have more work to
Sir Paul Stephenson: That was
the implication that I took from the response of the Mayor. I
would describe him, without being overly emotional, as being almost
emotional. He was very cross; he didn't want it to happen, and
he made it very clear that he thought it was wrong.
Q649 Chair: We will continue
on this vein, and colleagues will ask questions on this. Can I
deal with the issue of the one or two lines that you put in your
resignation statement concerning Mr Coulson, and the comparison
between Mr Wallis and Mr Coulson in respect of your employment
of Mr Wallis? We will explore with Mr Fedorcio later what happened
concerning that matter.
Specificallythis has excited a lot of
interestyou made reference between what you did and the
employment of Mr Coulson by the Prime Minister. It seemed that
you may have been taking a bit of a swipe at the Prime Minister,
bearing in mind the fact that you said that the Prime Minister
had employed somebody who had resigned, but Mr Wallis had not
resigned, as a result of the News of the World. That has
excited a lot of comment. Here you were resigning, and there was
the Prime Minister just carrying on. Were you upset by the fact
that you were treated differently, or appeared to have been treated
Sir Paul Stephenson: Chair, we
always live in a world where the media speculate and interpret,
and this has been a particularly febrile time. I was taking no
such swipe at the Prime Minister. I was trying to make something
absolutely clear. I agree with the Prime Minister when he says
that this was entirely different. Of course the employment of
Mr Coulson and the employment by the Met of Mr Wallis are entirely
Can I correct an inaccuracy here? Mr Wallis
was never employed to be my personal assistant or to provide personal
advice to meI know we will go into this later. It was a
very minor matter; he was employed to provide advice to the head
of DPAyou will see him later on. Through that, he would
give me some occasional advice. He had a very part-time, minor
role. That is one of the reasons it was different from Mr Coulson,
and it certainly was not a public-facing role. What I was trying
to get across was simply this: when Mr Coulson resignedat
that time, he said he resigned, and time will tell, to do the
honourable thing and, if you will, be the leader and take responsibilityby
definition, he associated his name with hacking. That is simply
and blindingly obvious. I was trying to draw the contrast that
I had no reason to doubt Mr Wallis's integrity. I had no reason
at all to link him with hacking. I had no reason to associate
his name and hacking together untilwe will come on to thisJanuary
2011, when I first saw his name in the public domain.
Sir Paul Stephenson: That is the
difference. I meant not to impugn the Prime Minister, or anyone,
by it; I was just trying to give an example to show that Mr Wallis's
name never, ever came into hacking, and it was never a consideration
Q650 Chair: Indeed. We will
come on to your relationship with Mr Wallis, but for this part,
if we can concentrate on your resignation statement, and we will
then come on to the relationship with Mr Wallis.
Q651 Mark Reckless: Sir Paul,
many of the public feel that people in senior positions too rarely
take responsibility by resigning, and will welcome your having
done so. Are you concerned that that may have been undermined
by what is being widely interpreted as a personal attack on the
Sir Paul Stephenson: All I can
do is tell the truth, Mr Reckless, and I told the truth in my
statement. I did it to the best of my ability. I cannot, as is
plainly obvious, control the way in which the media spin or interpret
things. I am just saying here and now that I made no personal
attack on the Prime Minister.
Q652 Mark Reckless: Well,
Sir Paul, that is certainly how I interpreted your statement.
Isn't one rather significant difference that you, as Commissioner
of the Metropolitan Police, should have been responsible for leading
the criminal investigation?
Sir Paul Stephenson: First, I
would have to remind you of the evidence that Lord Blair gave
to this Committee. I think he tried to describe the work of the
Commissioner. If I might do that, that might put in context your
question. We receive 6 million calls a year. We deal with over
800,000 crimes every year. I manage risk, and I look to the things
that are most risky, as to wanting more briefings. I do not investigate
crime, but I do make enquiries where it is high risk. When I took
office as Commissioner, I did ask for a detailed briefing on the
night stalker. That man had committed hideous crimes, raping elderly
people. It had gone on for many years and it was a stain on our
professional reputation. Therefore, I wanted a detailed briefing.
I instructed that more resources be put into it, and we had a
I did ask, and continue to ask, for detailed
briefings on the murder of Stephen Lawrence, because we still
did not have a proper outcome to that. I did put in place weekly
and daily briefings on counter-terrorism. I never for one moment
asked a question about phone hacking. I had no reason to suspect
it was not a successful operation. I had no reason to think it
was not finished, and I had no reason to suspect
Q653 Chair: We will come on
to the investigation shortly. Mr Reckless, if we can stick with
the resignation for the moment.
Q654 Mark Reckless: Sir Paul,
a lot of other people did ask those questions. I personally would
like to give credit to The Guardian newspaper and
the role that it played in that, as well as a number of our colleagues.
Sir Paul Stephenson: I said the
same thing in my resignation speech.
Q655 Mark Reckless: Good.
You also, in your resignation speech, seemed to at least imply
that the Prime Minister was in some way compromised and that you
could not share what you were suggesting was operational information
with him, but isn't it also the case that you did not disclose
the appointment of this PR consultant previously either to the
public or to Labour Ministers?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I certainly
did not imply at all that the Prime Minister could not be trusted.
I think if you look at my speech, that is quite clear. Why did
I not tell the Prime Minister before Wallis's name was connected
with phone hacking? I would have no reason to. I had no reason
to connect Wallis with phone hacking. I had no reason to question
his impropriety. Nothing had come to my attention. I had no knowledge
of the previous inquiry, and I had no reason to inquire of the
police inquiry, and I had been given assurances by a senior-grade
chief constable that there was nothing new. I had no reason to
disclose a very minor contract, which was very part-time, of someone
working for my DPA and giving me occasional advice. I had no reason
to disclose that.
When he did come into the frame, or at least
became a name, all I was saying in my resignation speech was that
it seemed to me eminently sensible not to impugn the Prime Minister's
character, but to consider whether it was right to allow anyone
to ask any questions later, because I'd given him operational
information that someone could suggest that because of his relationship
with Coulson, and Coulson's relationship with Wallis, somehow
that could open up a charge of impropriety. [Interruption.]
No, I think there is something very relevant here. My understanding
is that it was exactly the advice of a senior official in No.
10, so we don't compromise the Prime Minister.
Q656 Chair: That you should
not tell him?
Sir Paul Stephenson: That is my
understanding. Mr Yates might be able to answer that later on.
My understanding is, and I think it's a very sensible position,
that a senior official in No. 10 guided us that we should not
compromise the Prime Minister. That seems to me to be entirely
Q657 Chair: Sir Paul, were
you not involved in the Damian Green issue? Did you not tell the
Mayor on that occasion, before Mr Green was arrested, that he
was going to be arrested? Was he not compromised, bearing in mind
the fact that he knew Mr Green, and that he then spoke to the
then Leader of the Opposition about it? How can you have done
that in that case, but not in this?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I think there
are a couple of obvious differences there. First, I might have
told the Mayor, but I did not tell the Prime Minister. Secondly,
quite frankly, we had a new relationship, and it has always been
my practice that when something very significant is going to happen,
at the time it is going to happen, to sight the chair of the police
authoritythat was the Mayor at that timeso that
they are not taken by surprise when they are doorstepped by reporters.
I certainly didn't tell him well in advance. I work very hard
not to compromise anyone, and if I may say so, I make sure that
my people do not compromise me.
With regard to Wallis, because there was this,
if you like, contact, I made sure that they told me what I needed
to know. It was only several weeks ago that I first became aware
that Wallis was a suspect; it was only early last week that I
was told that Wallis may be arrested; and it was only on Thursday
morning that I was told that he was being arrested that day, and
he was under arrest.
Q658 Keith Vaz: We will come
on to this, but I thought you said that Operation Weeting was
happening in a box, and that you were not being kept informed
of what was happening in Operation Weeting. When you appeared
before this Committee two weeks ago, you said that these were
questions to be asked of Sue Akers. Are you being kept informed
by Sue Akers of who is going to be arrested?
Sir Paul Stephenson: She would
inform me of a key suspect like that, and she just told me that
he became a suspect.
Q659 Chair: So you knew on
Sunday, for example, that Rebekah Brooks was going to be arrested
before she was arrested?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Yes.
Q660 Chair: How long before?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Maybe a day,
maybe two days.
Q661 Chair: Two days before,
Sir Paul Stephenson: I really
can't remember, but a day or two days, and that is entirely proper.
Chair: I see. Can we stick to resignation
for the moment? Michael Ellis?
Q662 Michael Ellis: Sir Paul,
you didn't feel you could tell the Home Secretary.
Sir Paul Stephenson: I am very
aware of the political exchanges over the employment of Mr Coulson.
Why would I want to risk anyone being accused of any compromise?
I would not suggest for one moment that the Home Secretary or
the Prime Minister would say anything, but why would I risk that
compromise? As I say, my understanding is that that was the advice
from a senior official in No. 10, and we would agree with that.
It is very sensible not to compromise people, or not to leave
people open to any suggestion of compromise when they don't need
Q663 Michael Ellis: Was it
not a question of keeping it secret from the Home Secretary and
from the Prime Minister? With great respect, Sir Paul, as Commissioner
of the Metropolitan Police, you're on a very substantial salary,
and you have very great responsibilities. You, and no doubt your
predecessors, have had to tell Home Secretaries and Prime Ministers
a lot of unpleasant things over many years. Why was this a matter
that you felt you could not disclose? This has been interpreted
Sir Paul Stephenson: I am fully
aware that it has been interpreted negatively; that has been brought
home to me, but let me remind you that prior to Wallis becoming
a name in connection with hacking, the first time, to my knowledge,
that I ever heard his name in relation to hacking was in an article
in January 2011 when I was still off sick. I had never heard him
connected at all before, publicly or indeed
Vaz: We understand. You have made that point. We will come
on to Mr Wallis in a second; we are on the resignation at the
Sir Paul Stephenson: I think it's
relevant, Sir. It is about the contract, and Mr Wallis is about
the contract. Prior to that, I had absolutely no reason and no
concern, so why would I raise with anyone a very minor contract?
I don't raise any other contracts; I had no concern about Mr Wallis.
When there was some concern, albeit very light, why would I then
compromise, or allow the Prime Minister any suggestion of compromise,
even though I do not for one minute think he would? Why would
I be so clumsy?
Q665 Michael Ellis: But News
International was being investigated by the Metropolitan police
at that time, was it not?
Sir Paul Stephenson: At which
Michael Ellis: Well, at the time of Mr
Wallis's hiring. Was it not being investigated?
Sir Paul Stephenson: No. There
was no investigation.
Q666 Michael Ellis: The difference
is that you were investigating News International at a later stage,
were you not?
Sir Paul Stephenson: We started
investigating News International in January 2011. The first investigation
started, I think, in December '05, and I think it ended in January
Chair: We will come on to the investigations
and Mr Wallis's employment in a moment. Bridget Phillipson?
Q667 Bridget Phillipson: To
continue that, do you think that you should have been alerted
sooner about the conflict concerning Mr Wallis? If you do, who
would have been responsible for sharing that with you?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I do not
know that anybody could have alerted me sooner. As I have said,
there was no suggestion from anywhere that Mr Wallis was involved.
Don't forget I heard senior News International people say that
this was a tiny few; they said nobody senior was aware of this.
I had no reason to suspect that the original investigation was
not successful. I had no information from it or responsibility
for it, so I am not sure that anybody was able to say that there
was a potential conflict of interestif indeed there wasapart,
perhaps, from Mr Wallis himself.
Q668 Bridget Phillipson: It
just struck me when listening to your resignation that perhaps
if the Metropolitan police had volunteered that information soonerI
appreciate that there was a criminal investigation ongoingyour
resignation may not have been necessary. It gave the perception
of there being a conflict, even if there was not necessarily a
conflict. Should the Met have volunteered that sooner, and might
that have made a difference to your resignation?
Sir Paul Stephenson: As I think
I put in my letter to the Home Secretary, the contracting of Neil
Wallis became of relevance only when his name became linked with
the investigation. Prior to that, that was not the case. When
it became part of the investigation, to go public without actually
having the evidence would taint him, because why would we be doing
it? When he became a suspect, it would tell him that he was a
suspect, which would be bad for the operation. I know that it
is very embarrassing for me, but I would prioritise the integrity
of this operation over my personal embarrassment.
Chair: Indeed. We will come on to the
integrity issue in a moment. Lorraine Fullbrook, a question on
Q669 Lorraine Fullbrook: Sir
Paul, I find it very strange that the Prime Minister and Home
Secretary said before your resignation that this case should be
investigated as far as it should go, even if it goes right to
the top. In your resignation statement, you said that you did
not want to compromise the Prime Minister. You are a policeman
first and foremost. Why would you not have told them prior to
your resignation? The Home Secretary found out about Wallis only
Sir Paul Stephenson: Why wouldn't
I have told him what?
Lorraine Fullbrook: You are a policeman;
it is your job.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Why wouldn't
I have told the Prime Minister what?
Lorraine Fullbrook: You said in your
resignation statement that you did not want to compromise the
Prime Minister in any way by revealing or discussing a potential
suspect who clearly had a close relationship with Mr Coulson.
You are a policemanwhy wouldn't you?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I think I
have answered thatbecause I would not want to open the
Prime Minister, or anybody else, to any such compromise. By the
way, I do not recall sharing information about any other suspect,
or any other operation, with the Prime Minister or the Home Secretary.
Q670 Lorraine Fullbrook: But
is there anyone else with whom you do not wish to discuss suspects,
and whom you may compromise?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I think I
have given a pretty open and full answer. You might not like the
answer, but I am simply saying that I would notthis seems
to be in line with advice that we have received from senior officialsby
discussing this particular operation, because of the unique circumstances
and the exchange over Mr Coulson's employment at No. 10, want
to open the Prime Minister, or anyone else, up to such compromise,
or to any allegations, as fanciful as they might be.
Q671 Chair: So in respect
of other suspects, when you were told, for example, that Rebekah
Brooks was going to be arrested, you did not tell the Mayor about
that, or anyone else?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I most certainly
Chair: I call Julian Huppert.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Sorry, may
I make an important point? I would not want to tell the Mayor
for exactly the same reason. I would not want to compromise the
Mayor, and besides that, that is the difference between governance
and operational independence.
Q672 Chair: I am still a bit
puzzled, because you did tell the Mayor about Damian Green, but
Sir Paul Stephenson: I do not
think there is any puzzle there. It has been my practice, at the
time of making a very significant arrest where they are likely
to be doorstepped and surprised, to do that. I hardly think that
people were that surprised, and I do not think the Mayor would
have been so naive.
Q673 Dr Huppert: Your resignation
statement was long and full. It seems to me that one of the big
issues that it raises is the question about the morale of the
Met going forward. I was stopped last week by a Met police officer
who described his embarrassment with senior police in the Met.
There is a real concern about morale. A number of changes, such
as the Winsor changes, are happening to the police, and they feel
that there is one set of rules for them and a different set of
rules for senior police. You are presumably not going to be the
person to clear this mess up from the morale side, but is there
something that you could have added to your statement, or that
you should say to whoever takes over about what they can do to
restore that morale in the Met?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Well, of
course, my statement was for both public and private consumption.
I have done a separate message for my own people in the organisation,
and I will do another message to them before I go. I have spoken
to many police officers since my resignation, and they have spoken
about their pride that somebody was willing to do something and,
even though they did not feel that they had done anything wrong,
was willing to walk away when it might interfere with the discharge
of their duties in a very difficult year. In a funny old way,
in many areas of the organisation, there is great pride. I would
point to what we are doing in Operation Weeting, because we do
have to restore some confidence.
Q674 Chair: We will come on
to Operation Weeting.
Sir Paul Stephenson: No, but it
is about morale, Sir. We have to ensure that Operation Weeting
restores the public's faith in us around the phone-hacking issue.
That is what we need to do.
Chair: We will come on to that, I promise.
Q675 Nicola Blackwood: I wonder
whether I could take you back to your resignation statement, where
you stated that you had no reason to suspect "the alleged
involvement of Mr Wallis in phone hacking", and that you
had "no knowledge of the extent of this disgraceful practice",
"the repugnant nature of the selection of victims",
or its "reach into senior levels." However, in the year
you metor have been reported to have metMr Wallis,
2006, the ICO produced a report that said: "Investigations
by the ICO and the police have uncovered evidence of a widespread
and organised undercover market in confidential" police information.
"Among the 'buyers' are many journalists looking for a story.
In one major case investigated by the ICO
records of information supplied to 305 named journalists working
for a range of newspapers." In its follow up report, it listed
the News of the World as one of those newspapers, 228 transactions
of positively indentified phone hacking and 23 journalists. Do
you not think that that might have alerted you to the fact that
Mr Wallis might have been involved in phone hacking at that time?
Sir Paul Stephenson: No, I do
not. I have to take you back to what I said earlier. First, that
report obviously mentioned the News of the World and many
other newspaper publications.
Nicola Blackwood: Yes, it does.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Some newspaper
publications with apparently
Nicola Blackwood: 31 in a readily readable
Sir Paul Stephenson: But some
newspaper organisations apparently had a worse problem. Mr Wallis
was certainly not named in that.
Q676 Chair: We will move on
to Mr Wallis. If you can just deal with your resignation statement.
Sir Paul Stephenson: I think that
was the questionabout Mr Wallis. Mr Wallis was not named
in there. I come back to what I said when I took over as Prime
Minister: I prioritise risk.
Chair: Commissioner. When you took over
as Commissioner. There is no vacancy as yet.
Sir Paul Stephenson: There is
no vacancy, and I am not yet prepared for that office. My goodness
me, what am I saying?
When I became Commissioner, I looked at the
risks, and I looked at those high-profile risks, and I have to
say that of course it is regrettable with hindsight when we see
the repugnant nature of this, and some of the victims who have
been selected here. Of course I support John Yates's statement
about if he had known then what he knows now, but there was no
reason for that to be on my desk. Even with that report, there
was no reason to put that above the night stalker, who had not
been caught after many years, the counter-terrorism operations,
and the murder of Stephen Lawrencemajor, major cases. They
were priorities for me. Phone hacking was not, even with that
Q677 Steve McCabe: In the
case of Mr Wallis, in your own words, he is an acquaintance of
yours, and someone with whom you have had a relationship for professional
purposes for over five years. He was a personal friend of Assistant
Commissioner Yates, and Mr Fedorcio says that you and Mr Yates
were both consulted on letting the contract at the Met to Mr Wallis.
Is it not strange that when you accepted the hospitality at Champneys,
you did not know that Mr Wallis also had a business contract with
it, and that no one at the Met sought to provide you with that
Sir Paul Stephenson: First, I
am completely baffled as to how anyone in the Met would have the
information that he had a relationship with Champneys.
Q678 Steve McCabe: In pure
business termslet's forget about what happened to Mr Wallis
subsequentlythe Commissioner of police is having free hospitality
at this establishment; there is a business connection between
the Metropolitan police and Mr Wallis; and Mr Wallis also has
a clear business connection with Champneys. Isn't it strange?
I think you said in your resignation statement that you are "dependent
to a great extent on others providing the right information and
assurances". Would you not have thought that someone should
have at least taken the trouble to point out to you that in accepting
this hospitality, you were accepting hospitality at an establishment
where there was a business connection between an individual who
was already under contract to the organisation that you run?
Sir Paul Stephenson: The only
way we would know that is if Mr Wallis declared it to someone.
I know of no one who knew that Mr Wallis was actually connected
with Champneysabsolutely no one.
Q679 Steve McCabe: Did you
ask anyone at the Met, before you accepted the hospitality, if
there was anything you should know?
Sir Paul Stephenson: About Mr
Wallis and Champneys?
Q680 Steve McCabe: No, did
you ask anyone at the Met, before you accepted the hospitality,
if there was anything you should know that might suggest that
it was not the smartest thing to do?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Absolutely
not, and I don't agree with you about "not the smartest thing
to do". Could I remind you, Sir, that I was recovering from
a serious injury and a serious illness? I was wheelchair-bound
and in pain, and my intention was to come back to work as soon
Q681 Steve McCabe: Sir Paul,
I use that term given the fact that there was a connection between
Mr Wallis and the place where you had your hospitality. He had
a business connection with that establishment, and he was also
being employed by your organisation. That is the point that I
am making. I am not asking you to justify whether or not you went
there to recuperate; I am asking whether it is appropriate to
have accepted hospitality at an establishment where Mr Wallis
had a business connection, while he was also under contract to
your organisation. In normal circumstances, is that not the sort
of thing you would expect your senior officers to know?
Sir Paul Stephenson: No, it would
not, because we would have to go into it
Q682 Steve McCabe: Even if
one of them was a personal friend?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Personal
friend of whom?
Q683 Steve McCabe: Mr Yates describes
Mr Wallis as a personal friend.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Mr Yates
will have to tell you whether he knew of his connection with Champneys.
I am very confident that he would not have known that, but that
is up to Mr Yates.
Q684 Mr Winnick: I have a
couple of questions, Sir Paul. First, I just want to clarify matters
regarding Mr Wallis, whom we are coming on to, as the Chair said.
Mr Wallis was the deputy editor of the News of the World when
Andy Coulson was the editor, was he not?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Yes, that
Q685 Mr Winnick: So obviously,
if Mr Wallis was involved in phone hacking and all the rest, clearly,
his boss was Andy Coulson.
Sir Paul Stephenson: He was the
deputy editor and Coulson was the editor.
Q686 Mr Winnick: I just wanted
to get that on the record, because there seems to be some sensitivity
on the part of a few members of this Committee. Can I come on
to the question of the health spa? I am not questioning your integrity,
Sir PaulI want to make that quite clear. If I was, I would
say so. Leaving aside the position of Mr Wallis and the rest of
it, let me put it as clearly as possible: was there not a situation
where it was inappropriate for any police officerwhether
it was the most senior officer, like yourself, or a police constable
or a sergeant, as the case may beto receive such substantial
Sir Paul Stephenson: In these
circumstances, I do not think so, Sir. The owner of Champneys
is a family friend connection. It was a generous offer. I paid
for many treatments. It enabled me to get back to work very quickly.
I do not think it was inappropriate in those circumstances. I
think it was damnably unlucky, frankly, that it seems Wallis was
connected with this. That was devastating news when I heard it.
Mr Winnick: Leaving aside Wallis, during
your time as Commissioner, if it came to the notice of the Met,
and then it came up to you, that a constable or sergeant had received
free meals at a restaurant, as the case may benowhere near
the sort of hospitality that you received, which I understand
amounted to some £12,000wouldn't there be some question
marks about the person involved, a police officer, receiving such
hospitality? Why was he being offered meals free of charge and
the rest of it? Wouldn't there be questions? Wouldn't his superior
ask him, "What's the relationship with the person providing
you with such free meals?", or free hospitality, as the case
Chair: Thank you, Mr Winnick. Sir Paul?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Mr Winnick,
you and I would agree that there most certainly would be if, one,
there wasn't a good reason for doing it and, two, it was done
secretly. This was declared. Even though there was no need to
do that against the policy, I put it in my hospitality register,
and it was not a secret.
Q687 Mr Clappison: Paul, we
have some questions to ask you, but before we do, can I put on
record my appreciation of the work that you have done as Metropolitan
Commissioner and the work of the officers who have served under
you? As far as Champneys is concerned, I have absolutely no problem
with what you have said about that, and I do not want to ask you
any questions about itI completely accept the explanation
you have givenbut there are some questions that you will
understand we need to ask in the light of our inquiry, particularly
about the relationship between the police and the press, which
is going to be subject to Lord Leveson.
One thing that strikes me, looking at this in
the round, if I can take it that way, is the extent of the connection
between yourself and other Metropolitan officers and News International,
and particularly the amount of times you met them and had lunches
or dinners with them. I understand from the Metropolitan Police
Authority that you had 18 lunches or dinners with the News
of the World, and seven or eight dinners with Mr Wallis himself
over about a five-year period. Can you explain to us why it was
necessary to have that amount of lunching and dining with the
News of the World and News International? Did the same
thing happen with other newspaper groups?
Q688 Chair: Before you answer
that, Mr Clappison is referring to this document, which I am sure
you have seen. It is a freedom of information request. We will
let you see it, so that you know what we are talking about.
Sir Paul Stephenson: I really
do not need to see it, Sir. I accept whatever is in the document.
I have declared all my contacts. I really do not need to see it,
but thank you very much.
Chair: Indeed. That is what he is talking
Sir Paul Stephenson: First, let
me go back to what I said previously. There is a reason why the
Metropolitan Police Commissioner must meet with the media to try
to promote and enhance the reputation of the Met, talk about the
context of policing and, if you will, make sure there is a relationship
there. What I would say, coming out of this matter, is that it
is quite clear to me that we need to change the way we do it.
Although I am right at the end of my term now, I have already
put in place changes in the way that we have to do this, because
I think we need to be much more transparent and explain what we
are doing better. It was I who asked Elizabeth Filkin yesterday
if she would come in and be the independent adviserI told
the Home Office about thatso that she can now advise us
not just on transparency, but on the ethical underpinnings of
why we do things with the media. When we talk about News
of the World or News International, can I put it in a little
Q689 Chair: Is it going to
Sir Paul Stephenson: No, it is
not, Sir. Between 2005 and 2010, 17% of my contacts with the press
involved News of the World. That is 17% of all my contacts.
I understand that News of the World represents some 16%
of press readership. In the same period, 30% of my contacts with
the press involved News International. That sounds like an extraordinary
percentage, but I am told News International represents 42% of
press readership. If I am going to maintain a relationship with
the mediaI make no criticism here, but it was not my decision
to allow News International to be so dominant in the marketand
if I am going to talk to the media, and they have 42% of the readership
in this country, who am I going to talk to?
Q690 Mr Clappison: Did you
have lunches or dinners with other newspaper groups, such as The
Daily Telegraph or the Daily Mail, which have significant
readerships as well?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Yes. I think
that is what it is indicating: 30% of my contacts were with News
International. The other 70% were with other newspapers.
Q691 Mr Clappison: One of
the meetings you did have was with The Guardian.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Twice.
Q692 Mr Clappison: Yes, twice.
The Guardian carried a report a day or two ago that you
had a meeting with them to try to persuade them that the coverage
of phone hacking was exaggerated and incorrect, and that you had
a meeting to that effect in December 2009. Is that right?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Yes.
Q693 Mr Clappison: So you
are telling us that you had not looked into this particularly
before January 2010, because it was only at that stage that alarm
bells rang when you found that there might be a connection with
Sir Paul Stephenson: January 2011.
Q694 Mr Clappison: January
2011. This was in December 2009. Before going to see a newspaper
such as The Guardian to try to persuade it that it was
getting it wrong and that it was all exaggerated, I presume that
you must have looked back over the evidence and over the case
to be able to be in a position to give it that assurance?
Sir Paul Stephenson: No, I am
the Commissioner of the Met; I have many people assisting me,
and I have senior-grade chief constables such as Mr Yates. Mr
YatesI am quite sure that he will give this evidencegave
me assurances that there was nothing new coming out of The
Guardian article. I think that I have a right to rely on those
assurances, and I had no reason at all to doubt the success of
the first operation. I went to The Guardian because it
continued to run the campaign. I think that I acknowledged in
my speech that we should grateful to it for doing that. I went
to it because I did not understand the claim.
Chair: Final question.
Q695 Mr Clappison: One of
the things that has come out to us, and that came out during the
course of the last hearing, was that in the meantime, since 2006,
there have been a lot of homemade inquiries by individuals who
thought that they had been hacked and who had taken individual
legal action privately to obtain information about themselves
from the News of the World and News International. That
has all been coming to light. Were you aware of that when you
went to see The Guardian in December 2009 and if you were,
what did you think of it?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I cannot
tell you whether I was aware of other people making claims. What
I can tell you is that in going to The Guardian, I wanted
to have an exchange with it. I wanted to understand what it was
saying. I wanted to say, "I am receiving these assurances.
I don't understand why you don't accept those assurances."
Coming out of that, it was quite clear to me that it did not accept
those assurances, so I suggested to the editor of The Guardian
that he see John Yates because I wanted to keep that dialogue
Q696 Chair: Thank you. Let
us move on to your relationship with Mr Wallis and his employment,
following on from the conflict of interest point. Does it not
seem a little oddyou are a very distinguished police officerthat
the News of the World seemed to have an ex-employee working
for the Leader of the Opposition and that the News of the World
had an ex-employee working for you? Did it not strike you
as a little bit odd that whether by coincidence or deliberately
the former editor of the News of the World ends up with
the Leader of the Opposition and the deputy editor of the News
of the World ends up with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner?
I accept what you said about Mr Wallisthat there was no
implication that he was involved in phone hacking when you took
him on. We will come on to the circumstances of that. We accept
what you said, Sir Paul, because it has not been recorded anywhere
else. But is that not a little odd because at some stage you would
have met the Leader of the Opposition, before he became Prime
Minister, and Mr Coulson would have been with him, and Mr Coulson
would have known, would he not, that Mr Wallis was working for
you? It is inconceivable that Mr Coulson would not have known
that Mr Wallis had a contract with the Metropolitan police.
Sir Paul Stephenson: My recollection
isI think that I am right in saying thisthat I do
not think I ever met Mr Coulson at all before Mr Cameron became
Q697 Chair: Did you meet Mr
Cameron before he became Prime Minister?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I think I
didyes, I did. I think that I had one meeting with him.
Q698 Chair: But it is inconceivable
that Mr Coulson would not have known that one of the people working
for you was his ex-mate at the News of the World. You knew
that Andy Hayman had got another job because he writes a column
for News International. This kind of thing must be discussed.
Sir Paul Stephenson: I am sure
that if this was a close relationship between Mr Coulson and Mr
Wallis they would discuss it. I think that I met Mr Coulson once.
I certainly did not meet Mr Coulson and Mr Wallis together at
all and I had no discussions about it.
Q699 Chair: But is it conceivable
that they would not have known about each other's jobs?
Sir Paul Stephenson: It seems
to me that if they were friends it is inconceivable that they
would not talk.
Chair: Let us go on to the contract.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Sorry, may
I make a point? It is a distortion to say that Mr Coulson worked
for the Prime Minister
Chair: The Leader of the Opposition.
Sir Paul Stephenson: and
that Mr Wallis is working for me. Mr Wallis was not working directly
for me. This was a minor part-time role through which I received
some occasional advice.
Q700 Chair: Excellent. Let
us look at that role. Were you one of the people who were consulted
when Mr Fedorcio offered him the contract to work as a consultant?
You have 69 press officers in the Metropolitan police, but you
needed another consultant.
Sir Paul Stephenson: I think it
Q701 Chair: Forty-five? Perhaps
it is the cuts. Has the number gone down?
Sir Paul Stephenson: It is 45.
Q702 Chair: But you needed
an extra consultant? Were you consulted before he was appointed?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Yes, I was.
Just let me say with the benefit of what we know now, I am quite
happy to put it on the record that I regret that we went into
that contract. I quite clearly regret it because it is embarrassing.
Sir Paul Stephenson: This was
at a time when Mr Fedorcio's deputy was long-term absent with
a very serious illness.
Q703 Chair: You were consulted
or asked whether this was a good idea.
Sir Paul Stephenson: I would take
it further: I said to Mr Fedorcio, "I do think you need additional
support here." Neil Wallis would be someone known to me.
When Neil Wallis's name came up, I would have no concerns about
thathe may well be a suitable person. Mr Fedorcio would
have mentioned that name to me, but then I know that Mr Fedorcio
would go away and go through a proper procurement process.
Q704 Chair: So you were consulted.
You even suggested his name.
Sir Paul Stephenson: No.
Q705 Chair: You did not.
Sir Paul Stephenson: No. I do
not think that I suggested his name.
Q706 Chair: You were consulted,
but you did not make the final decision, or did you?
Sir Paul Stephenson: No. I was
not involved in the procurement process, but I have to say that
I would not be discomforted by the fact that Mr Wallis came out
of that process because I knew nothing to his detriment, and he
Q707 Chair: It is argued in
the media that actually the Metropolitan police went out and asked
Mr Wallis to do this job. Is that correct?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I think that
you would have to ask Mr Fedorcio of how he managed that procurement
Q708 Chair: We will very shortly.
Did you know that Mr Wallis' daughter was employed at the Met?
Sir Paul Stephenson: No, I do
not think that I knew that until very recentlyat the weekend.
Q709 Chair: When did you know?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I think that
it was even the weekend or something like that.
Q710 Chair: Obviously, lots
of people worked for the Met, so you do not know every single
person. Is that what you are saying?
Sir Paul Stephenson: That may
well be an accurate characterisation.
Q711 Dr Huppert: Coming back
to the declarations and hospitality registers, what is in them
is very interesting. There is no information about the value
of various meals, which is a thing to look at for the future.
A sandwich dinner is very different from a rather nice dinner.
What I also cannot find is a declaration of hospitality at Champneys.
We have already discussed to some extent whether that was appropriate
or not to accept, but surely it should have been publicly declared.
Can you point to where that would have been declared?
Sir Paul Stephenson: When I came
back from being sick, I made sure that it was put in the hospitality
registerthe publication scheme for the previous quarter.
It is in my hospitality register, and it will be published at
the end of the next quarter.
Q712 Dr Huppert: When did
you start and finish receiving that hospitality?
Sir Paul Stephenson: When I came
back from being ill, is the relevant issue.
Q713 Dr Huppert: Which day
Sir Paul Stephenson: I think that
I came back on 15 April.
Q714 Dr Huppert: So we will
see it when that is finally published.
Sir Paul Stephenson: In the next
quarter's publication, yes.
Q715 Michael Ellis: Commissioner,
you are playing down the role of Mr Wallis. You said that it
was a minor role. He was on £1,000 a day, was he not? Two
days a month. Would you say it was a minor role?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I am toldI
can certainly look at the processhe was the cheapest person
available out of the three people contacted.
Q716 Michael Ellis: You said
in an answer to an earlier question that you did meet with The
Guardianwas it the editor-in-chief of The Guardianwhilst
employing Mr Wallis.
Sir Paul Stephenson: I have to
look at the dates. I know that I have met with Mr Rusbridger
on two occasions.
Q717 Chair: He had a consultancy
from 2009 to 2010.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Can you remind
me of the dates? If it is there and it says that I met him at
the same time, then I did.
Q718 Michael Ellis: December
Sir Paul Stephenson: Fine.
Q719 Michael Ellis: Did you
put pressure on Mr Rusbridger or anybody else at The Guardian
to lay off the phone-hacking story?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I did not
put pressure to lay off. They were continuing to run a series
of articles, whilst I was getting assurances that there was nothing
new in this. They seemed to disagree, so it seemed entirely appropriateI
could understand thatthat I meet with them and represent
to them what I was being toldthat it was nothing new and
I had no reason to doubt the first inquiry. They were clearly
not going to listen to that, so I suggested that they meet with
John Yates so we could further try to iron this out.
Q720 Michael Ellis: The
Guardian understood from you that the phone-hacking story
that they were working on was inaccurate, incorrect and wrongly
implied that the force was party to a conspiracy, whereas, in
fact, the story was correct.
Sir Paul Stephenson: To my knowledge
then, and to my knowledge now, the force was not engaged in a
Q721 Michael Ellis: But the
story was not inaccurate or incorrect.
Sir Paul Stephenson: If the suggestion
was that the Metropolitan police were engaged in a conspiracy,
I have no information to support that, and I do not believe that
it is the case.
Q722 Lorraine Fullbrook: I
want to continue in that vein if I can, Sir Paul. You met with
the editor-in-chief of The Guardian on 10 December, complaining
that you believed they were over-egging the investigation of phone
hacking. You wrote to the editor on February 2010 and, in it,
you actually say, "Once again, it presents an inaccurate
position of our perspective and continues to imply that the case
has not been handled properly and that we are party to a conspiracy."
They are your words in a letter. Following that, Mr Yates had
a meeting on 19 February. Was Mr Wallis, who was employed in
October 2009, consulted about these meetings or letters before
you went to see The Guardian?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Absolutely
not. He did not work in my office or for me. I have never had
a conversation with Mr Wallis about phone hacking. I have never
been present where anyone else has had a conversation with Mr
Wallis about phone hacking. He was not employed for anything to
do with phone hacking.
Q723 Lorraine Fullbrook: You
did not take advice from him prior to the meetings. Did you inform
him of the discussions after the meetings?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I would not
take advice from Mr Wallis at all about meetings or inform him
about any meetings that I was having. That was not the purpose
of the support that he was giving to Dick Fedorcio. My understanding
is that he was employed to give media support to Mr Fedorcio,
which is nothing to do with my administration, my meetings, or
Q724 Lorraine Fullbrook: It
is normal, when you take on a contractual person, to look at their
background. Would it not be normal, when you are taking on someone
to provide you with PR experience or consultancy, to ask who their
other clients are?
Sir Paul Stephenson: You would
have to ask Mr Fedorcio. You say that it would be normal. I have
no role whatsoever in procurements for any contracts. I do not
play any role in procurement. I think it is better that way, and
I played no role in this procurement decision.
Q725 Mr Winnick: I believe
that he was employed from September 2009 to October 2010, Commissioner.
Was that not the period when the decision was taken not to pursue
further the allegations of phone hacking?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I cannot
tell you when the decision was taken; you have to ask Mr Yates.
I think it came up in July 2009, and when it did, Mr Yates stated
that there was nothing new.
Q726 Mr Winnick: Yes. He was
employed, as I understand it, between October 2009 and September
Sir Paul Stephenson: So the decision
not to go further was taken before that employment.
Q727 Mr Winnick: But obviously
he was known to be a former deputy editor of the News of the
World. Following on from what Lorraine Fullbrook has asked,
does it not seem amazing that while the Met had already looked
into phone hacking and decided on the date that you said not to
pursue the matter any further, the person who was involved actively
in the paper that was accused of phone hackingthe deputy
editor of the News of the Worldwas taken on by the
Met? Do you not see any contradiction whatsoever?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I do not
see any contradiction because, as I have already said, I had no
reason whatsoever to think that there was anything wrong with
the original investigation, which, for all intents and purposes,
was successful. I had no knowledge of any other information that
we held, and I received assurances that there was nothing new
in the information coming from The Guardian in 2009. I
had no reason to be concerned about Mr Wallis. I heard senior
News International figures say that it was a rogue few and that
senior people did not know about it. Why would I have any reason
to have any suspicion about Mr Wallis?
Q728 Mr Winnick: Because phone
hacking was a matter that the Met was supposed to be looking into.
There have been serious allegations. There was a decision not
to pursue the matter further in 2009, and yet the deputy editor
of the News of the World, the very paper that was accused
of phone hackingrightly, as it turned outwas employed
by the police, which was supposed to be investigating phone hacking.
You see absolutely nothing wrong with that at all?
Sir Paul Stephenson: No. If I
can remind you, Mr Winnick, the police were supposed to investigate
phone hacking between December 2005 and, I think, January 2007,
when two people were convicted. As far as I was aware, that was
a successful investigation.
Q729 Chair: But on 9 July,
you asked Mr Yates to look at it again. A few weeks later, Mr
Wallis was given his job. We accept that there was no evidence,
but you are a police officer with years of experience. Surely
you would think to yourself, "It's very odd that a former
News International employee is working with the Leader of the
Opposition and another is working with me." It is almost
like a fashion accessorypeople leave the News of the
World and come to work for the police or politicians, and
your officers, such as Andy Hayman, leave the police force and
go to work for News International. You must have read some of
Mr Hayman's columns in The Times at some stage. Did you
not have any suspicions about this? I accept that there was no
hard evidence, but you are a police officer. Surely you would
have had suspicions.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Mr Vaz, there
was no evidence available to me, not "no hard evidence".
Secondly, Mr Hayman was not in the Met when I was Commissioner;
he was in the Met when I was Deputy Commissioner. And no, I do
not read Mr Hayman's columns.
Q730 Chair: You did not know
that he worked for The Times.
Sir Paul Stephenson: I know he
works for The Times, but you asked, "Don't you read
his columns?"no, I do not.
Chair: I am sure he will be very upset
to hear that.
Q731 Mr Winnick: No regrets?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Gosh. I have
already said that now that the information has come out, of course
I regret that the contract was taken on.
Q732 Nicola Blackwood: Sir
Paul, we read that Mr Yates has been a close friend of Mr Wallis
for about 12 years. One newspaper characterises that, "Yates
thought Wallis was a fantastic guy
really one of the very
best journalists around. The strange thing is that Wallis was
regarded as a monster by lots of people in the newsrooms he worked
in, but Yates had the utmost respect for him." Do you feel
that in some of the decisions that were made around the hacking
inquiry, some of the personalities might have been blinded by
friendship? Was some judgment clouded because of relationships
with News International journalists?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I genuinely
have no reason to believe that. Of course, you have asked questions,
and you will be asking more questions of Mr Yates. I have genuinely
no reason to believe that. Mr Clarke was the first inquirera
man of huge integrity. I have no reason to believe that that was
not a successful investigation. I had no reason to doubt the assurances
given by Mr Yates and I have no reason to believe that his judgment
was impaired. You have to ask Mr Yates that, and I cannot characterise
the nature of their friendship, or the nature of what other people
believe of Mr Wallis. I am not that close to him.
Q733 Nicola Blackwood: But
when we discussed Mr Yates's assessment of the material in 2009,
we asked him whether he felt a need to do the minimum in order
to get the review off his desk as quickly as possible and focus
on more important things. He answered that that probably was the
case. To what extent is it possible that his relationship with
a News International journalist might have coloured that judgment
in some way? Knowing Mr Yates, to what extent do you think that
might have been possible?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I think I
have answered thatknowing Mr Yates, I have no reason to
believe that whatsoever. I have huge amounts of faith in Mr Yates
and I have no reason to believe that that is the case.
Chair: We will be seeing him shortly.
Quick questions from Members, and then we must move on to the
Q734 Steve McCabe: Sir Paul,
I apologise for dwelling on Mr Wallis, but you must see why it
has become significant now. You told us that he was appointed
because Mr Fedorcio needed some short-term support. But he was
appointed to work in specialist operations with the directorate
of public affairs and the Commissioner's office to provide strategic
communication advice and support. What was he there to do for
you in your office?
Sir Paul Stephenson: He was not
appointed to work in my office; he never worked in my officeI
do not recall him ever coming into my office.
Q735 Steve McCabe: But Mr
Fedorcio says that was one of the roles that he was givenis
that not true?
Sir Paul Stephenson: He was appointed
to support Mr Fedorcio and to give me occasional advice on speeches.
Q736 Steve McCabe: Occasional
advice on speeches.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Well, speeches
was the main thing
Q737 Steve McCabe: That was
Sir Paul Stephenson: occasional
advice on speeches, but it was very much about the media. And
he did not work in my office or directly to me.
Chair: We will explore this with Mr
Q738 Mr Clappison: You will
appreciate that we have to ask you questions about what went wrong
with the inquiry and the review. You have been giving us a full
account of what you knew when but
Sir Paul Stephenson: I suspect
that is why I am here, sir.
Q739 Mr Clappison: Indeed.
People looking at this in the round would see this as an obvious
question. Knowing that Mr Yates was a great friend of Neil Wallishe
had known him for a long timeand that Neil Wallis had been
the deputy editor of News of the World at the time of the
original phone-hacking allegations, did you not think that there
might appear to be a conflict of interests in asking Mr Yates
to do the investigation at that point?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I think that
you are conflating several things. First, I have to repeat: I
had absolutely no reason to doubt Mr Wallis at all, so I cannot
see how there was a conflict. I knew that Mr Yates was a friend
of Wallis, but that was not relative to what I was asking him
to do. The only reason I asked Mr Yates to do it was because he
was in charge of the business group that originally did the investigation.
Q740 Mr Clappison: The review
was to look at whether the original investigation had got it right
and whether phone hacking was more extensive than had originally
appeared, and you went on to give The Guardian assurances.
Mr Wallis had been an employee of News International and had been
in the News of the World newsroom at the same time as the
deputy editor. Surely that created a conflict of interest, did
it not, or the appearance of one? Members of the public will want
to ask this.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Well, of
course, your statement is not the case, sir. Can I remind you
what I asked Mr Yates to do? I read from
Chair: We will be coming to the investigation
in a second.
Sir Paul Stephenson: I know, but
what was said was not accurate. Quite simply, I did not ask Mr
Yates to review it; I asked him "to establish the facts of
that case and look into that detail and I would anticipate making
a statement later today perhaps."
Q741 Mr Clappison: On that
basis, how did you feel confident, given that a very limited review
had been carried outthat is what you knewto go to
The Guardian and tell it that it had got it all wrong,
when it was said that its story was exaggerated?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Mr Clappison,
there was absolutely no reason to think that the original investigation
was not a success. There were people sent to prison because of
it. Mr Yates looked at it. I asked a senior-grade chief constable
to have a look at it, and he came to the view that there was nothing
new in it.
Q742 Chair: Right, Sir Paul,
let us just move on to those three investigations, because Members
want to ask you about them. This is critical, of course, to the
other reason why you resigned. In respect of the first investigation,
with hindsightyou mentioned hindsight when you resigned
on Sundaydo you accept now that the so-called Hayman-Clarke
investigation was not as thorough as you would have expected,
otherwise much of what we are seeing now would have come out then?
Do you accept that now?
Sir Paul Stephenson: First, I
would not characterise it as the Hayman-Clarke investigation.
I heard the evidence given to this Committee; it is quite clear
to me that the investigation was run by a man of great integrity,
and that is Peter Clarke. Secondly, do I accept
Q743 Chair: Are we assuming
that Mr Hayman is not a man of great integrity?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I am not
saying that; I am saying the man who ran the investigation had
great integrity. Mr Hayman did not run that investigation. That
was quite clear to me from the evidence he gave to you. Secondly,
do I accept that there is material that is repugnant there, which,
with hindsight, should have come into an investigation? Yes, I
do. Thirdly, I have listened to Mr Clarke. Do I accept the reasons
why he set the narrow parameters? I actually think that is for
Mr Clarke to justify, and I do think it is a matter for the judicial
Q744 Chair: Let us go on,
then, to the second reviewMr Michael will ask questions
on thisand the reason why you asked John Yates to do a
review. This was 9 July. We have had evidence from John Yates.
He said he took eight hours to look at the evidence. What were
your expectations? When you asked him to do this, how long did
you expect him to take?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I had no
expectations of how long. Again, I go back to my statement. Even
in my letter to you, I missed out the last word in my statement,
which was, "I would anticipate making a statement later today
perhaps." I anticipated that statement would be about letting
people know where we were up to, but I had no anticipation of
what the time scales would be. I asked a senior-grade chief constable,
which is what an Assistant Commissioner is, to take another lookjust
take a lookand come to a conclusion.
Chair: Thank you. Mr Michael.
Sir Paul Stephenson: I made that
Chair: Mr Michael will pursue this.
Q745 Alun Michael: In July
2009, when you asked John Yates to take a fresh look at the material
in respect of phone hacking, what did you expect that fresh look
Sir Paul Stephenson: I am sorry
to say this again, Mr Michaelthe Guardian article
was a big story on Radio 4 as I was travelling to Manchester;
I had no knowledge of it. I did not have a great deal of expectation,
other than asking the person who was in charge of the old business
group that investigated it to have a look at what was in that
paper and say, "Is there any reason for us to do anything
else?" It was that simple.
Q746 Alun Michael: Did you
expect at that time, and would you have expected in retrospect,
that the material would be reviewed?
Sir Paul Stephenson: No, I would
not. Unless there was a reason to doubt the original investigation,
and, regrettably, we did not have any reason to doubt the original
investigation, I would have expected Mr Yates to look at the new
information, if it was new information, coming to light and to
come to a viewdid it materially alter the position or open
new lines of inquiry? Mr Yates came to a view that there was no
new information in there.
Q747 Alun Michael: So, let
me get this straight. Essentially, you did not think there was
anything to be discovered?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Well, it
was not whether I thought there was or not. I asked Mr Yates to
look at it.
Q748 Alun Michael: But we
now know that there was a mass of materialI underline
the words "mass of material"that was not reviewed
at that time. Does that surprise you in retrospect?
Sir Paul Stephenson: In terms
of Mr Yates's explanation, it does not surprise me, but these
are questions and mattersI know he has already spoken to
you about itthat you have to put to Mr Yates. I am not
surprised that he had no reason to suspect the original investigation
was not successful. It is very regrettable that that information
was there in police possession.
Q749 Alun Michael: Could you
help us a little bit on how decisions are taken? In retrospect,
we know that the original material was looked at to seek information
for the potential prosecutions that were being pursued. We also
know there was a mass of other material that, in consequence,
led to serious investigations. We heard from Mr Clarke that the
reason that there was not greater investigation of that mass of
material was becauseI accept this pointthere was
massive pressure on him and his officers to deal with a whole
set of potential terrorist threats and investigations. In retrospect,
do you think that the issue should have been accelerated or escalated
to your attention, or that of your deputy, in order to review
the decision not to go further into the examination of the mass
of material that was there?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Unless what
we are saying is dishonest, we had no reason to doubt the success
of the original investigation.
Q750 Alun Michael: But the
original investigation, as we have been told in this Committee,
was a narrow one. As I indicated, we now know that there was a
mass of material that may not have been relevant to the individuals
being investigated at that time, but was extremely relevant to
the mass of concerns that have come out since. At some point,
as we understand it, the decision was taken that the resources
were not available to undertake that.
Sir Paul Stephenson: I was going
to go on to say, to the second part of your question, that I would
have no way of knowing what the parameters were of that original
investigation, or indeed that it was so narrowly drawnor,
indeed, that it was a resourcing issue. I was not involved in
that original investigation, and I had no knowledge.
Q751 Alun Michael: Don't you
think that that should have been escalated to your attention at
Sir Paul Stephenson: I don't see
how it could have been, because I guess neither did anybody else
currently have that knowledge.
Q752 Alun Michael: In September
2010, we were asking whether or not there was a fresh investigation.
At that time, Mr Yates was not able to give a yes or a no. Did
you believe that there was a new investigation going on at that
Sir Paul Stephenson: From recollectionMr
Yates would have to confirm thisI think that Mr Yates was
looking again, scoping it. I think that followed disclosures in
The New York Times.
Q753 Chair: He did brief the
Mayor of London, with a very heavy briefing, that there was no
new evidence, which meant that the Mayor made his "codswallop"
statement, in which he said that this was a politically motivated
attempt to regenerate this issue. That is what Mr Yates said to
the Mayor. Did he say that to you? What did he do? Did he ring
you up and tell you the results?
Sir Paul Stephenson: First, I
don't think Mr Yates said to the Mayor, "This is a load of
Q754 Chair: No, that is what
the Mayor said.
Sir Paul Stephenson: But there's
an implication there; I don't think Mr Yates would have said that.
Secondly, you would have to ask Mr Yates. I know that Mr Yates
did brief the Mayor; how heavy it was I really don't know.
Q755 Chair: But did Mr Yates
Sir Paul Stephenson: Did Mr Yates
Chair: Brief you at the end of the eight
Sir Paul Stephenson: He gave me
Chair: A verbal briefing?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I think it
would have been a verbal briefing. I was in Manchester and he
was in London.
Q756 Chair: So he rang you
and told you, "I have tried to establish the facts"that
is what your press release says"and this is my result."
Sir Paul Stephenson: From memory,
I don't know whether he told me the result before he announced
it, but that would not be a problem to me. I gave him the job
to do, and he did the job.
Q757 Chair: Did he mention
the bin bags? In his article in The Sunday Telegraph last
week and to this Committee, he mentioned evidence being put in
Sir Paul Stephenson: I don't recall.
Q758 Chair: So you have never
heard of the fact that there were all these documents in bin bags
until nowor have you heard?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Well, I think
I heard of it before today.
Q759 Chair: When did you find
out that massive evidence was being kept?
Sir Paul Stephenson: The only
way I could have found out was when the investigation was reopened,
and Weeting started in January 2011. Of course, I returned to
work in April.
Q760 Chair: Is it correct
that after six years it is the policy of the Met to dispose of
evidence that is no longer required? What is the policy of the
Sir Paul Stephenson: I couldn't
give you the detailed policy, but I can let the Committee have
a note afterwards.
Chair: Would you, because I am very keen
Sir Paul Stephenson: I'll get
someone to let the Committee know.
Q761 Nicola Blackwood: Sir
Paul, you have repeatedly said that you had no reason to think
that the first investigation had not been completely successful,
and that there were no further leads to follow up. Peter Clarke,
when he gave us evidence, likened the original investigation to
a complex fraud, in that there were over 11,000 documents, and
it was necessary to set very narrow parameters in order to be
able to use the evidence effectively and gain prosecutions; necessarily,
a lot of the evidence had to not be examined for possible additional
indictments. Due to the fact that there were problems of resources
and a very high terror threat level at the time, there was the
decision not to have an exhaustive analysis following immediately
afterwards in 2005-06. Was that not disclosed to you in 2009,
giving you the sense that perhaps it would be necessary in 2009
to do more than one day's review in order to assess those 11,000
Sir Paul Stephenson: No, absolutely
not. Phone hacking did not become a priority to me in 2009.
Q762 Nicola Blackwood: I understand
that phone hacking did not, but the nature of the evidence that
was in your possession was not revealed to you by your officers?
Sir Paul Stephenson: No.
Chair: Julian Huppert. Could we have
brief questions, because we have other witnesses?
Q763 Dr Huppert: I will do
my best, Chair. The Evening Standard is reporting that
the Neville whose name appeared in some of that information was
a source, and was providing information to the Metcode
name George, I think, source 281and that in exchange he
was given confidential information from the police national computer.
If that is true, it raises even more concerns about what is happening
to police information; are they giving it to journalists? This
was about a Labour MP, unnamed in the story. There are questions
about information being given, and there are questions about the
close connection with News International as well. If that is correct,
would you have been aware of it? Would Mr Yates have been aware
of it? Would it have affected the decision not to work out who
Neville was, when I think most of us think it was relatively obvious
who it was?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I certainly
would not have been aware of it. I strongly suspect Mr Yates would
not have been aware of it, but I certainly would not have been
aware of it.
Chair: We will speak to Mr Yates.
Q764 Bridget Phillipson: Sir
Paul, we are aware of the comments you made publicly that day
regarding asking Mr Yates to establish the facts of the case,
but what discussions did you actually have with Mr Yates when
you rang him up? Presumably you instructed him to do this above
and beyond making a statement publicly. He would not have been
aware to do something just from a public statement.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Yes, I told
him could he have a look at it.
Q765 Bridget Phillipson: Did
you advise him as to what practical steps that might involve?
Sir Paul Stephenson: No, I would
not advise a man of Mr Yates's experience and a senior-grade chief
constable on the practical steps of how to decide whether there
was more in this or not.
Q766 Bridget Phillipson: At
what point were you aware of the ongoing civil action, taken by
a number of individuals, that was drawing out further information?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I really
could not help you with that. I do not know at what point I was
aware, but I do have to say that against the other priorities
on my desk, that still would not have made it a priority. What
would have made it a priority on my desk was if I had known about
the hideous nature of some of those.
Q767 Bridget Phillipson: Just
one final question. Returning to the comments that you made at
the start regarding not wanting to compromise the Prime Ministercorrect
me if I am wrongyou said that you spoke to a No. 10 official
who told you not to share that information with Mr Cameron. Is
Sir Paul Stephenson:
First, let me make it quite clear that I do not believe that the
Prime Minister would be compromised. All I was trying to do was
guard him against any accusations that he might. It was simply
that. Secondly, I did not say that a senior official told me.
It is my understanding that that is consistent with the advice
from a senior official, but I think Mr Yates might be able to
Q768 Bridget Phillipson: Who
was that senior official? Do you know?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I do not
have the identity.
Q769 Bridget Phillipson: Who
had that conversation?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Can I suggest
that you might want to ask Mr Yates?
Chair: We will ask Mr Yates.
Q770 Mark Reckless: To the
extent that Mr Yates felt that he was perhaps expected to do only
the minimum with this review, or whatever it is to be described
as, is that not understandable? I know, Sir Paul, that you are
now saying that the reference to a statement was a technical oneit
was just something formal that might happen later that daybut
do you understand why it might be that Mr Yates could have felt
under pressure to produce quick results, when you had told your
colleagues at the ACPO conference: "I have asked Assistant
Commissioner John Yates to establish the facts of that case and
look into that detail, and I would anticipate making a statement
Sir Paul Stephenson: If I could
finish that, "later today, perhaps" is what I said.
No, I do not think that that would put pressure on. I think it
does make a difference, because it might be that Mr Yates could
not make a statement later that day. There was a big story in
the headlines, and lots of people were asking questions about
it, and I was trying to indicate that we would say something more
about it. I do not think that that put pressure on Mr Yates, and
I do not think that Mr Yates would accept such pressure.
Q771 Mark Reckless: Well,
we will ask him. Do you not think that because you said that the
statement would be made later that daywhether "perhaps"
or notJohn Yates was going to be under pressure to produce
a result, and that the public might well think that the decision
at the Met not to reopen this investigation was made at the top?
Sir Paul Stephenson: The first
part of your question I have just answered: I do not think that
would put pressure on somebody of Mr Yates's experience. I cannot
answer as to what the public might think on that. It is something
that we would do. If a big story is running early in the morning
on Radio 4, we would generally try to put something out as soon
as possible as to what we were doing about that big story.
Q772 Chair: And that would
come from your press office?
Sir Paul Stephenson: It might
come from the senior investigating officer. It might come from
a senior officer. It might come from whoever was relevant to make
such a statement.
Chair: Thank you. Michael Ellis has a
quick supplementary question. We have other witnesses.
Q773 Michael Ellis: Yes. You
told Yates to take another look. It was a cursory look, and you
knew it to be a cursory look, because he gave you a report on
it only later in the day. Is that right?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Well, I was
aware that, later on in the day, he said he didn't think there
was anything new.
Q774 Michael Ellis: Had The
Guardian told you that there was more to it than had, at that
time, been in the public domain?
Sir Paul Stephenson: All I can
do is take you back to the fact that Mr Yates looked at it, and
he did not think there was anything new. I would expect him to
look at it and make that decision.
Chair: We will ask Mr Yates. Nicola Blackwood?
Q775 Nicola Blackwood: Sir
Paul, we know what your formal request to Mr Yates was regarding
the review. I wonder whether you had any off-the-record discussions
that might have given him a suggestion as to the parameters that
you would prefer him to use for his review. Were there any discussions
or any informal remarks that you might have made to him that would
have suggested that he do the minimum of work on this particular
Sir Paul Stephenson: Sorry, any
Q776 Nicola Blackwood: Any
informal remarks that you might remember having with him about
Sir Paul Stephenson: No, I don't
think I had any. We would have had a discussion on the telephone.
I would have asked him to pick it up and do his job.
Chair: Alun Michael. Final question.
Q777 Alun Michael: You have
referred on a number of occasions now to senior members of your
team asI think I quote you correctlysenior chief
constables. A chief constable is the chief police officer in charge
of a police forcea role you have occupied in the past in
Lancashire. These are members of your team; they are not independent
chief officers of police in that sense, are they? They are accountable
to you. The implication of what you said seems to suggest that
the Met operates as a series of baronial empires, almost. Would
you like to clarify that?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I certainly
would. Some might say that might have been the case in the past,
but it is certainly not the case now. All I am trying to do is
set the context, and the context is, when people are asking me,
"Did you supervise John Yates? Did you give him guidelines?",
I think John Yates would accept that he is a senior grade equivalent
to chief constable. He is one of the most senior grades in the
land. He has extraordinary experience. It is that context that
I am trying to set.
Q778 Alun Michael: That is
a helpful clarification, but it is in that context, I think, that
we are expressing some surprise, as you were the chief officer
responsible, with a deputy to stand in if you were otherwise occupied,
that some of these matters were not escalated for consideration
at that level by these very experienced senior members of the
Metropolitan police team.
Sir Paul Stephenson: I think I
have given as full an answer as I possibly can as to why this
would not be seen as a priority, until such time as we had what
we thought was new and additional information. My understanding
is that new and additional information came in January '11of
course, I was away at the timeand it was that that started
Q779 Alun Michael: But questions
were already being asked the previous year. We were already asking
whether there was a fresh investigation, so outside the Met, there
does seem to have been a belief that there was material to be
Sir Paul Stephenson: When you
ask those questions, my understanding is Mr Yates was saying that
there was a scoping exercise based on The New York Times information.
You would have to ask Mr Yates or perhaps Mr Godwin, who was standing
in for me; they reopened the investigation. My understanding is
it was on the basis of the new disclosures from News International,
but I cannot be sure about that; I was not there.
Q780 Chair: May I ask two
questions, in conclusion, that are in the public domain? Alex
Marunchaka name that probably you were not familiar with,
but you became familiar with yesterdaywas an ex-News
of the World journalist who was employed as a translator.
Did you know that before yesterday?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I have over
Q781 Chair: Do you know of
anyone else who is a former employee of the News of the World
who now works for the Met, or is this a question we should
put to others?
Sir Paul Stephenson: It was in
the letter that you sent to me last week.
Chair: It was.
Sir Paul Stephenson: I will try
to be as helpful as possible. Without providing information that
would unfairly identify individuals, I understand there are 10
members of the DPA staff who have worked for News International
in some capacity in the past, in some cases as journalists, and
in some cases undertaking work experience with the organisation.
I can't help you beyond that. If you want to make further inquiries,
I guess you will have to
Q782 Chair: Ten in the press
Sir Paul Stephenson: Ten members
of DPA staffMr Fedorcio is giving evidence
Q783 Chair: What is DPA?
Sir Paul Stephenson: The Department
of Public Affairs, which includes media.
Q784 Chair: So in his staff,
there are 10 out of 45?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Yes. That
is the information I have got.
Q785 Chair: We will ask him
in a moment, but you have just given us this informationpresumably
you have just discovered this.
Sir Paul Stephenson: You asked
the question, so I tried to do you the courtesy of an answer.
Q786 Chair: We are most grateful.
In respect of Sean Hoare, do you have any information other than
what we have seen in the public domain?
Sir Paul Stephenson: None whatsoever.
Q787 Chair: You have nothing
to tell us?
Commissioner, this might be the last time you
appear before the Select Committee as Commissioner. May I ask
you where you think your resignationand the resignation
of John Yateswhich I think we accept was a shock, leaves
the service that you have been involved with for so many years?
You have had many years of distinguished service. Every person
who has spoken about you since your resignation refers to you
as an honourable man and as a person of integrity. I am still
a little bit puzzled why you have resigned, bearing in mind that
you have had no involvement in the investigation or in Mr Wallis's
appointment, other than being consulted, and Mr Wallis did not
do very much for you. Given that you have resigned, which is now
a fact, where does this leave the Met?
Sir Paul Stephenson: There are
two issues there: where it leaves the Met; and you are still a
little bit puzzled as to why I resigned. Let me say where it leaves
the Met. Clearly, these are huge eventsregrettable eventsand
I would say that I sincerely regret that Mr Yates has gone. I
think that the work that he has done, particularly in counter-terrorism
in this country, is splendid. We are the poorer for his passing,
frankly. However, the Met will recover. The Met has more than
50,000 people, the vast majority of whom are decent, honest, hard-working
professionals who will actually be well led. The interim arrangements
have been put in place and I am very confident that they will
work very well. I sincerely regret going, but I am confident that
the Met will maintain and grow
Q788 Chair: Has the Met been
damaged by all this very badly?
Sir Paul Stephenson: It has certainly
not been helpful. Having a Commissioner resign cannot be helpful,
however good, bad or indifferent the Commissioner is.
Q789 Chair: But do you think
that trust can be restored, in respect of what can happen in the
Sir Paul Stephenson: I most certainly
do. I think we need to make changes in how we handle the media.
Some of those changes have already been made, and that is why
I appointed Elizabeth Filkin yesterday, with her approval, to
come in and give us independent advice. I do think that we need
to handle the media differently in the futuremuch more
transparentlyand we have already put those arrangements
in place, and more will be done in the Met.
You still thought it a little bit odd, why I
resigned. I think that I gave you a very fair and full answer,
and that I gave a very fair and full statement. You mentioned
that this might be the last time I appear before you. Well, this
is almost certainly my final professional engagement after 36
years of policing. To try to assist you, I am not going to add
to my resignation speechI think it was rather lengthy,
and it is now a matter of public recordbut it is safe to
say that, contrary to much ill-informed media speculation, I am
not leaving because I was pushed, just to confirm what I said
earlier, and I am not leaving because I have anything to fear
or am threatened. I am not leaving because of any lack of support
from the Mayor, the Prime Minister or indeed the Home Secretary.
Until the point of informing them of my resignation, their support
was very strong, and afterwards their comments were most generous.
I am going because I am a leader. Leadership
is not about popularity, the press or spinning; it is about making
decisions that put your organisation, your mission and the people
you lead first. It is about doing things that will make them proud
of their leaders, and that is very different from being popular
with them. It is about making decisions that might be difficult
and personally painful; that is leadership, and that is why I
Chair: Sir Paul, as always, you have
been very courteous to this Committee. You have answered questions
for more than an hour and a half. On behalf of the Committee,
may I wish you the best of luck for the future? Thank you for
Examination of Witness
Witness: Dick Fedorcio,
Director of Public Affairs and Internal Communication, Metropolitan
Police, gave evidence.
Q790 Chair: Mr Fedorcio, you
have heard most, if not all, of the evidence, so I think we will
go straight into it without long introductions. I will go straight
to the questions, if I may?
Can you tell us the position that you hold in
the Metropolitan Police Service? What is the job that you do?
Dick Fedorcio: I am the Director
of Public Affairs, which means that I am responsible for the Met's
media relations. I am responsible for corporate internal communication;
I am responsible for marketing and I am responsible for e-communications.
Q791 Chair: And in respect
of these matterswe specifically want to talk about these
matterswere you the person who signed off the contract
to employ Mr Wallis?
Dick Fedorcio: Yes.
Q792 Chair: Why did you employ
Mr Wallis, knowing full well that during your tenure as Director
of Public Affairs, there had been many, many questions about the
News of the Worldthe phone hacking allegations?
You knew, obviously, about the Peter Clarke investigation. You
even knew about the Yates investigation because I think that you
organised the press to be outside Scotland Yardyour Department
didwhen he made his statement saying that he was not taking
matters further. Why did you employ him knowing this?
Dick Fedorcio: Can I say, Chairman,
I am keen to be as open and helpful as I can to the Committee
today, but as you will be aware, only a couple of hours ago I
was informed that I had been referred to the Independent Police
Complaints Commission for investigation? I have not been able
to take legal advice in that time, so I hope that you will bear
with me and perhaps guide me if you feel I am straying into areas
that may cause me problems in the future.
Q793 Chair: All our witnesses
have been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission
and that did not stop the Commissioner, so you can take your guidance
from him. This is a Committee of Parliament, which is sovereign.
We can take evidence from whomever we want until someone is charged
with a criminal offence. There is no risk of you being charged
with anything, is there?
Dick Fedorcio: I don't believe
Q794 Chair: Excellent. So
feel free to answer our questions.
Dick Fedorcio: The point that
I was making is that I have not had the opportunity to take independent
legal advice, whereas others may have done.
Q795 Chair: Specifically,
if you could answer our questions. We are not keen on long statements.
We know the facts, or the background anyway. You can give us the
facts. You took the decision to employ Mr Wallis. You have 45
people working in your press office, but you needed another consultant.
Why Mr Wallis, bearing in mind that Mr Clarke had just completed
an investigation in 2006 and Mr Yates had conducted a review at
the express request of the Commissioner. Why did you give this
to the man who was the deputy editor of the News of the World?
Dick Fedorcio: Where shall I start?
The need that I had for external advice and support came about,
as the Commissioner explained earlier, because my deputy was undergoing
recuperation and recovery from a quite serious illness. Even today,
he is yet to return to full work. This meant that I was workingeffectively
doing two jobsat the top of the Department. It was the
strategic level of work that I was working on. I was under great
pressure, working long hours and I felt that I needed some help
and assistance. In fact, the Commissioner suggested that I should
look and find such help.
Q796 Chair: We understand
that, so tell us why you found him.
Dick Fedorcio: I had been looking
for some time to find someone who I felt had the right experience,
background and knowledge to provide that assistance to me. Over
a period of time I spoke to a number of colleaguesthe professionals
outside the organisation whom I knowto seek their views
on how I could go about this. I came to the view in the end that
what I needed was what I call a retainer contract. It was a contract
that would give me access at short notice to someone as an adviser
Q797 Chair: We understand
all that, but why him?
Dick Fedorcio: I am coming to
Q798 Chair: Why Mr Wallis?
Dick Fedorcio: I needed that contract
in place to enable me to move quickly if or when I needed to get
advice. One of the names that was put to me was Neil Wallis following
his departure from the News of the World.
Q799 Chair: Who put that name
Dick Fedorcio: I was aware of
it. I cannot remember who, to be honest. But I was made aware
that he, having left the News of the World, was available
for consultancy work. He was setting up on his own and was therefore
available. I saw Mr Wallis
Q800 Chair: Whom you had never
Dick Fedorcio: No. I had met Mr
Wallis on a number of occasions. I should say that I know Mr Wallis
as a business colleague. I have known him since 1997.
Q801 Chair: As a business
Dick Fedorcio: As a business colleague.
By that I mean that I am at the Metropolitan police as the Director
of Public Affairs. At that stage he was deputy editor of The
Dick Fedorcio: That is when I
first met him and I have known him through his various
Q802 Chair: Isn't he a professional
person, not a colleague, but someone you dealt with regularly?
Dick Fedorcio: A professional
Q803 Chair: When you say business
colleague we thought you were in business together.
Dick Fedorcio: Sorry, yes, I should
have said a professional colleague.
Q804 Chair: So you had known
Dick Fedorcio: I know him, but
he is not a personal friend whom I socialise with out of work.
I want to make that clear. I have seen him on a number of occasions
over those years. I have known him in the various senior roles
that he has fulfilled.
Q805 Chair: But you were aware
of the background of all the phone hacking investigations. You
were aware of that on 9 July, just a few months after he was appointed.
When did you actually give him the contract?
Dick Fedorcio: The contract was
awarded at the end of September 2009.
Q806 Chair: And Mr Yates finished
his review on 9 July.
Dick Fedorcio: Two months earlier,
Q807 Chair: Eight weeks after
the review was completed you gave him a contract.
Dick Fedorcio: Yes.
Q808 Mr Winnick: So you knew
all about phone hacking allegations before Mr Wallis was appointed.
That is quite clear.
Dick Fedorcio: What I knew was
that the Metropolitan police investigation had taken place. I
knew the decisions of the Metropolitan police around that and
all the statements that had been made by the Metropolitan police.
I was aware of the media coverage that had taken place. It was
in that context that I made that decision.
Q809 Mr Winnick: And two people
had been convicted and sent to prison over phone hacking.
Dick Fedorcio: In 20062007,
I thinkwhen that took place, some two and half years earlier.
Q810 Mr Winnick: I speak as
a layman not a journalist, but wouldn't the first question one
would ask of Mr Wallis be, "Since you were the deputy editor
of the News of the World, the very paper at the centre
of the allegations over phone hacking, can you tell us, Mr Wallis,
what you know about phone hacking?" Did you ask that question?
Dick Fedorcio: If I could explain
the route I got to him very quickly. Having considered him as
a consultant and someone I could take on among the other names
that I had in mind, I spoke to John Yates and advised him what
I was thinking of doing. John Yates conducted a form of due diligence
on Mr Wallis. He can probably explain that to you later better
than I can. As far as I am concerned, Neil Wallis gave John Yates
categorical assurance that there was nothing in the previous phone
hacking matters that could embarrass him, John Yates, the Commissioner
or the Metropolitan police.
Q811 Mr Winnick: As I understand
it, you did not ask Mr Wallis for the information, or the question
I assumed would be put, because he had been asked by Mr Yates.
Is that right?
Dick Fedorcio: Yes. Mr Yates made
me aware of that.
Q812 Mr Winnick: So, what
did Mr Yates actually say to you? Did he say it was perfectly
all right to employ Mr Wallis, because Mr Wallis was in no way
involved with phone hacking, because he told him so?
Dick Fedorcio: I can't remember
the actual words or the conversation.
Q813 Chair: No, but was that
roughly what he said? Was the purport of what he said what Mr
Winnick has just put to you?
Dick Fedorcio: He said to me that
as far as he was concerned, having spoken to Mr Wallis, there
was nothing that could embarrass any of us in that appointment.
Q814 Mr Winnick: How long
have you been involved in public relations?
Dick Fedorcio: 40 years this year.
Q815 Mr Winnick: And it would
not have occurred to you, with all your vast experience, to put
the question yourself to Mr Wallis, bearing in mind how much phone
hacking, even then, had been in the news, with court convictions
and people being sent to prison due to phone hacking connected
with the News of the World? It wouldn't have occurred to
you simply to say to Mr Wallis, "Let's get the position quite
clear. It is a very sensitive job we are taking on in the Met
and so on. Can you tell me anything about what happened when you
were deputy editor of the paper?"
Dick Fedorcio: I think Mr Yates
asking Mr Wallis that on one occasion is more than enough times.
Q816 Mark Reckless: You are
head of public affairs and you say that your responsibilities
include marketing, and that you needed Mr Wallis as another PR
consultant. I may be naive, but would it not be better if the
Met concentrated on catching criminals?
Dick Fedorcio: The Met is concentrating
on catching criminals.
Q817 Mark Reckless: Why do
have these 50-oddor whatever it ispeople in PR?
Has that not just grown too big? Why not just concentrate on the
Dick Fedorcio: I do not believe
so. Like it or not, the media have a strong interest in policing.
They put significant demands on the Metropolitan police, wanting
information out of the police officers doing their investigations.
If we were not in place, the police officers would be spending
their time trying to deal with that approach. By having press
officers in place, we are able to take the pressure off the investigating
officers, so that they can get on with their jobs. In the main,
press officers cost less than police officers, so we are a cheaper
option as well.
Q818 Mark Reckless: Could
at least some savings be made in your department?
Dick Fedorcio: There are always
savings to be made, and my department has contributed to savings
over the past 10 years, every year.
Chair: Dr Huppert. Could we make it quick,
Q819 Dr Huppert: Indeed. Mr
Fedorcio, you are clearly the main contact at the Met with some
of these journalists. Freedom of information requests from Dee
Doocey revealed your name all over meetings with people from News
International. It is important to be transparent about these things,
and the Met has a publication scheme about hospitality, as we
have already discussed. When I look online, however, the entire
directorate of public affairs has apparently received no gifts
or hospitality since March 2009. Even back then, only 12 lunches
or breakfasts are declared for the entire directorate, and tickets
to Wembley but not to Twickenham. What is going on? Were you trying
not to tell the public about those meetings, and why were they
not declared openly and transparently as the rules say you ought
to have been doing?
Dick Fedorcio: Until recently,
only the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner's hospitality
registers were published on the website. Work is now being done
to backdate all the rest of the organisation's hospitality registers
at a senior level for the last three or four years, and I anticipate
those being published shortly. That was not my responsibility;
that was a recent decision taken to expand the publication of
Q820 Dr Huppert: But it seems
rather bizarre that there would be this January-March window.
It does not say anything about who received a gift, who it was
from or what the value was. Do you at least accept, particularly
given current public concern, that it is simply outrageous that
there is not a record of key contacts between senior people at
the Met like yourself, and these journalists? It is not recorded
in any way publicly and that should have been a priority to look
at once you realised that there was a key issue.
Dick Fedorcio: I think you will
that find that my hospitality is connected with the Commissioner,
or whoever I had been with. It may not be on the DPA site
Dr Huppert: It is not on the Commissioner's
site either. I have all of that printed out here as well, and
your name is not listed.
Dick Fedorcio: Sorry. Okaywithin
the books, within the Met.
Q821 Chair: Will you supply
us with a list? That would be very helpful. Lorraine Fullbrook,
on the employment of Mr Wallis.
Lorraine Fullbrook: Mr Fedorcio, specifically
on the employment of Mr Wallis, did you go out to tender for this
Dick Fedorcio: Initially, my understanding
at the time of the procurement boards was that the option of a
single tender was in place. I asked and inquired about that, and
was then given advice by the procurement department that this
would require three quotes because of its size and scale. At that
stage, I went and got three quotes, and of those three quotes,
Mr Wallis was by far the cheapest.
Q822 Lorraine Fullbrook: You
said that you employed Mr Wallis because you needed to beef-up
your department, but you said your deputy was so good. Why then
would you feel the need to employ Mr Wallis for two days a month?
Dick Fedorcio: My deputy was off
Q823 Lorraine Fullbrook: So
two days a month would help that would it? There was nobody else;
the number three in your department was not good enough to take
Dick Fedorcio: The person at the
next level was still relatively new in post. My professional assessment
was that I needed external help that was not available internally.
Q824 Lorraine Fullbrook: So
out of the 45 people in your department, you felt that there was
nobody available to give the kind of expertise that Mr Wallis
would give you?
Dick Fedorcio: Not at the senior
level that I was looking for.
Q825 Lorraine Fullbrook: Is
it not the case that you employed Mr Wallis to help you with the
fall-out from the News of the World phone hacking scandal?
Dick Fedorcio: Not at all. If
I may be very clear, the work that I employed Mr Wallis to assist
with, and the sort of work that I was involved in, would have
been about corporate policy matters. Issues of investigation and
of operational activity are dealt with by the press officers and
the 45 staff. I do not get involved in operational or investigative
Q826 Lorraine Fullbrook: You
never discussed the phone hacking scandal with Mr Wallis. Is that
what you are saying?
Dick Fedorcio: No. Never.
Q827 Chair: But as the Director
of Public Affairs, you sit on a management team and you must know
lines to take. Surely you could not possibly do your job if you
did not know about what was happening in the Metropolitan police,
and on a daily basis someone would give you a complete set of
cuttings as to where the Metropolitan police was involved.
Dick Fedorcio: I didn't say that
I didn't know; I said that I didn't have a discussion with Mr
Q828 Chair: So you did know
about the phone hacking. You did know that investigations were
Dick Fedorcio: I knew that the
initial investigation had taken place and that that had closed.
I knew that Mr Yates had conducted that work in July, and I know
that in January this year the investigation reopened.
Q829 Chair: We understand
what happened in 2009, but you knew what happened on 9 July and
the eight weeks that led to the issuing of the contract.
Dick Fedorcio: Yes. I was aware
Chair: You knew that Mr Yates was conducting
that so-called review, and you knew that Mr Yates was a personal
friend of Mr Wallis, but you still relied on Mr Yates to give
you the all-clear to employ Mr Wallis.
Dick Fedorcio: I accept the integrity
of Mr Yates. He is a senior officer in the organisation.
Q830 Chair: But what about
your integrity as someone who needed to show due diligence when
you signed off this contract?
Dick Fedorcio: I was satisfied
that the advice given to me by Mr Yates was reliable.
Q831 Steve McCabe: On the
question of the contract, you say that, of the three people who
tendered, Mr Wallis's company was by far the cheapest. Are the
contract specification and the details of how it was advertised
available? Could they be made available to the Committee so that
we can see what he was being judged against? Have you retained
Dick Fedorcio: Yes, indeed. A
contract of that size could be led by obtaining three quotes from
potential suppliers within the Met rules. It was not advertised
Q832 Steve McCabe: How did
you obtain these three quotes? Did you phone up a couple of other
people that you knew or did you write it down? I am just trying
to figure out how he won the contract.
Dick Fedorcio: I prepared a short
specification, which I e-mailed to the three people asking them
to provide a costing for the work that I was looking for on a
retainer basis, based on an assessment of around two days a month.
Q833 Steve McCabe: And that
documentation is available? You could make it available to the
Dick Fedorcio: Well, that documentation
is with the Independent Police Complaints Commission now.
Q834 Steve McCabe: One other
thing. When you employ people on this or indeed any other basis,
are they normally required to provide any disclosures of their
other business details or connections?
Dick Fedorcio: There is a contract,
but I cannot recall the details of the contract.
Q835 Steve McCabe: If you
want somebody to work at the Met, you would not want someone who
perhaps had connections to the criminal fraternity, so there must
be some way that you ask people to provide a disclosure of their
business connections. Is that right?
Dick Fedorcio: I know that in
this case Mr Wallis had just left the News of the World
and he was setting up on his own. At that stage, he was looking
to obtain new contracts. As far as I was concerned
Q836 Steve McCabe: So you
made no attempt to find out what other business interests he might
Dick Fedorcio: I asked who he
was working with and at that stage he said, "I've just set
up on my own. I am just starting my business."
Q837 Steve McCabe: And is
Dick Fedorcio: I doubt it.
Q838 Nicola Blackwood: Mr
Fedorcio, when you asked Mr Yates to conduct the due diligence,
was that a normal process? Would you normally have asked Mr Yates
to conduct that due diligence? How did you select Mr Yates for
Dick Fedorcio: I was talking to
Mr Yates for two reasons. One, I knew that he, being new in post
in the specialist operations department, would particularly need
some assistance at a senior level. Part of this work would assist
him in doing it, so I spoke to him about it specifically because
of his involvement in phone hacking. I was aware of the investigation
or, in his case
Q839 Nicola Blackwood: You
thought it was a good idea for Mr Yates to do due diligence on
a new employee from News of the World, because he had been
investigating News of the World employees?
Dick Fedorcio: Mr Yates is a senior
police officer in the Metropolitan police. I have no reason to
doubt his integrity.
Q840 Nicola Blackwood: That
is not what I asked. I asked why did you select Mr Yates to do
due diligence on a new employee who you were considering a contract
Dick Fedorcio: Because in this
case he was aware, or he had been leading the work on phone hackingwhatever
was going on at the timeand I thought that was an appropriate
place to do it.
Q841 Nicola Blackwood: When
you selected him, were you aware that Mr Yates had been a close
friend of Mr Wallis since 1998?
Dick Fedorcio: No. Not since 1998.
Q842 Nicola Blackwood: Did
Mr Yates inform you that he had been a close friend of Mr Wallis
Dick Fedorcio: I have only in
the last few years picked that up.
Q843 Chair: In the last few
years? Sorry, Mr Fedorcio, in answer to Nicola Blackwood, could
we have a precise answer? You said to me previously that you knew
he was a friend of Mr Yates.
Dick Fedorcio: I knew he was a
friend, but I did not know they went back to 1998.
Q844 Chair: But you knew he
was a friend.
Dick Fedorcio: I knew he was a
Q845 Nicola Blackwood: At
the time when you asked him to do due diligence, did you know
that he was a close friend of Mr Wallis?
Dick Fedorcio: I knew he had contact
with Mr Wallis. I could not say that he was a close friend, but
I knew he was a contact.
Q846 Nicola Blackwood: Did
you not think that it might not be appropriate for someone who
was a close friend of a potential employee to do the due diligence
exercise on that potential employee?
Dick Fedorcio: I had no
reason to doubt Mr Yates's judgment.
Q847 Nicola Blackwood: Despite
his integrity, it might have put him in a difficult position if
he had discovered something?
Dick Fedorcio: I have no reason
to doubt Mr Yates's integrity.
Q848 Nicola Blackwood: It
is not about his integrity; it is about the position which he
might have been put in.
Dick Fedorcio: I do not believe
he was put in a position like that.
Q849 Chair: Mr Fedorcio, it
is about your integrity and how you appoint people, not about
Mr Yates's integrity. We will make our own conclusions on that.
Miss Blackwood is asking you whether you think in hindsight you
did the right thing.
Dick Fedorcio: With hindsight,
as I know a number of my colleagues from the Met over the last
week have said to you, lots of things would have been done differently,
if we had known then what we know now.
Q850 Chair: But in respect
of the appointment of Mr Wallis, would you reappoint him knowing
what you know now?
Dick Fedorcio: Certainly not.
Q851 Michael Ellis: Who recommended
Mr Wallis to you? You say you had a recommendation before you
took him on.
Dick Fedorcio: I had been out;
I am trying to think. In mid-August, I discovered that he was
down working independently.
Q852 Michael Ellis: Was it
someone from the News of the World or from News International?
Dick Fedorcio: I honestly cannot
recall who said it. I speak to a lot of people.
Q853 Michael Ellis: Despite
the scrutiny on this matter and despite obviously having given
it some careful consideration, you cannot recall who suggested
that you hire Mr Wallis.
Dick Fedorcio: At the end of the
Q854 Michael Ellis: Was it
Dick Fedorcio: Certainly not.
Q855 Michael Ellis: Was it
anybody else at News International?
Dick Fedorcio: Not to my knowledge.
Q856 Chair: In answer to Mr
Ellis's question, it could have been someone at News International,
because you said you cannot remember.
Dick Fedorcio: I cannot remember,
but I do not believe it was.
Q857 Michael Ellis: Were you
particularly close to the News of the World and News International?
Did your closeness, if you were close to them, cause friction
with press officers under your control?
Dick Fedorcio: I read that suggestion
in today's paper, which I am dismayed about, to be honest. The
comments that they make suggest that I was placing stories with
them. I must admit I have placed stories with all sorts of papers
and all sorts of journalists.
Q858 Michael Ellis: Were you
giving preference to the News of the World in placing stories?
Dick Fedorcio: Certainly not.
You would know that different papers have different interests
in different subjects, and you seek to operate within those.
Q859 Chair: Did you know that
Mr Wallis's daughter worked at the Met?
Dick Fedorcio: I did not until
Q860 Chair: That was the first
Dick Fedorcio: Yes.
Q861 Chair: Mr Wallis's contract
Dick Fedorcio: His contract was
terminated on 7 September 2010.
Q862 Chair: Is it not the
case that he was offered another contract?
Dick Fedorcio: Yes.
Q863 Chair: When was he offered
the second contract?
Dick Fedorcio: The situation with
my deputy, as I said, continued; he was not coming back. So I
had had the first contract. I reviewed it at the end of that period
Q864 Chair: Look at your notes,
please, if you would, so that we get this absolutely right. How
long did the first contract run?
Dick Fedorcio: The first contract
ran until 31 March 2010.
Q865 Chair: When did it start
and when did it end?
Dick Fedorcio: The contract was
issued on 1 October.
Q866 Chair: And it ended?
Dick Fedorcio: That one on 31
Marchsorry, can I correct myself? The contract had a long
potential date. That was why I said that, initially, it was seven
months with the option of an extension.
Q867 Chair: So 1 October to
Dick Fedorcio: Yes.
Q868 Chair: And he was offered
another contract on 1 September.
Dick Fedorcio: He was offered
an extension before 1 April, for six months, to take him through
to the end of August. On 1 September, he was offered another six
months' extension, but things accelerated in the few days after
that. If I can explain, on 1 September, The New York Times
article appeared on the other side of the Atlantic, so that came
over here later in the day. Over the following few days, the story
developed in some ways, which operationally led Mr Yates to make
some statements about looking at certain factors.
Q869 Chair: And then you terminated
Dick Fedorcio: On the evening
of 6 September, reviewing the news coverage, I was determined
that I needed to take steps to end the contract. I intended to
do it the next morning. I actually received an e-mail from Mr
Wallis just after 10 o'clock on the evening of the 6th, saying,
"With what's going on here, I fear this is going to embarrass
you, and I don't want to do that, so I wish to suspend the contract."
Q870 Chair: So you did not
terminate it; he volunteered to terminate it.
Dick Fedorcio: He got there by
a couple of hours, ahead of my getting to him to say, "I'm
sorry, this is the end." I accepted his proposal and terminated
Q871 Chair: Can you clear
up one other point in respect of the letter that you sent us concerning
Andy Hayman? Mr Hayman has made it very clear that before he went
to meetings, dinners etc. with News International, he spoke to
you and that you said it was fine for him to go to these meetings.
For the record, could you explain your position?
Dick Fedorcio: Certainly and I
will try to do it briefly. I need to take this in reverse order,
in the way that I wrote to you. The first I became aware of phone
hacking taking place was when I returned home from a period of
leave in August 2006. It was the only dinner that I attended,
with Mr Hayman and representatives of News International. Before
that was in April 2006, which was while the investigation was
ongoing. I attended that dinner with no knowledge whatever of
the phone hacking investigation taking place.
Q872 Chair: And Mr Hayman
didn't tell you that the investigation was happeningeven
before the dinner?
Dick Fedorcio: No.
Q873 Chair: Did you go to
the dinner together?
Dick Fedorcio: Yes.
Q874 Chair: Did he not mention
on the way that he was doing a major investigation into phone
Dick Fedorcio: No. It would have
been inappropriate for me to have been told. I am not briefed
on operational matters until I need to know.
Q875 Chair: But were these
matters not in the newspapers?
Dick Fedorcio: No. It was totally
secretive. It became public on the arrest of Goodman and Mulcaire.
Q876 Chair: You never advised
Mr Hayman not to attend any dinners with News International?
Dick Fedorcio: Not while there
was a live investigation going on into them, no.
Chair: We have a final question from
Q877 Lorraine Fullbrook: Is
it correct that you actually employed Mr Wallis before your deputy
Dick Fedorcio: No. My deputy became
ill in the middle of February 2009.
Lorraine Fullbrook: Thank you.
Chair: We have a brief question from
Mr Clappison: This is on a different
subject, which I have pursued already with a previous witness.
Chair: Okay, as long as it is brief.
Q878 Mr Clappison: It is very
brief. I asked the Commissioner about the number of lunches and
dinners that he had had with News International organisations,
particularly News of the World. He told me that there was
a strategy whereby you were trying to reach out to newspapers
with a particularly high percentage of the marketI think
he said 40% for News International. Were you aware of that strategy?
Dick Fedorcio: I would not accept
the use of the word "strategy". I deal with all of the
media and I need to deal with them all of the time. The News International
group of papers are a significant part of that, so naturally we
would spend an amount of time with them.
Q879 Mr Clappison: Since then,
I have seen a list of the hospitality accepted by the Commissioner,
and as far as lunch or dinners are concernedI am not talking
about award ceremonies or parties or things like thatit
would appear, and I might be wrong about this because we have
only had a cursory look, that he only ever went to lunch or dinner
with News International organisations, particularly the News
of the World. What was the strategy for reaching out to people
like myself who are readers of the Daily Mail and the Daily
Chair: Not at the same time though.
Dick Fedorcio: My experience is
that each news outlet has its own ways of meeting commissioners
or senior police officers. Some prefer dinners, some prefer lunches,
some prefer meetings in the office, some prefer it over sandwiches,
some prefer it over coffee and some prefer it with nothing. You
go with the mood. This is something that has been in place since
I started at the Met and it is something that I inherited.
Chair: Mr Fedorcio, thank you for coming
in to give evidence. I am not sure whether we are any clearer
at the end of this session than we were when we started. We may
be writing to you again about these matters. Thank you for coming.
May we have our final witness, John Yates?
Examination of Witness
Witness: John Yates,
Acting Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police, gave evidence.
Q880 Chair: May I start with
an apology for keeping you waiting so long? We are most grateful
to you for coming. Let me place it on the record that I greatly
appreciate all the roles that you have played in the Metropolitan
police and the way in which you have dealt with this Select Committee.
You have always been very willing to come here even at very short
notice and you have always been very helpful with our inquiries.
It came as a surprise to most of usI am not saying that
this was connected in any way with my call to your officewhen
you announced your resignation yesterday, especially when you
were reported as saying, very forcefully, that you had done nothing
wrong. We have read your resignation statement and we have a copy
with us. Why did you resign bearing in mind that you believe you
have done absolutely nothing wrong in this case?
John Yates: Thank you for
those kind words to start with, Mr Vaz. As I said in my statement,
I felt that this has already become a huge distraction, in the
same way that the Commissioner described, for me in my current
role. I looked at the past two weeks in terms of my role as the
head of counter-terrorism. I probably spent no more than two or
three hours managing that level of risk. I see no indication that
at any time, either now, in the future or for some considerable
period, that pressure will subside. Point one, huge distraction.
Point two, leaders occasionally have to stand
up and be counted. I have said I am accountable for what has taken
place on my watch. I firmly believeI reiterate thatthat
I have done nothing wrong. My integrity is intact and my conscience
is clear. It is time to stand up and be counted and that is what
I have done. I have announced my intention to resign.
Q881 Chair: Thank you. We
are just going to examine you on two issues, one of which has
emerged since you last gave evidence to us about the 9 July investigation.
I will start with some interesting evidence that we have heard
from Mr Fedorcio concerning the employment of Mr Wallis. Mr Fedorcio
has just told usthis is in the public domain and perhaps
one of the reasons why you felt that there were these allegations
swirling around that caused you to be distractedthat he
decided to employ Mr Wallis because of your reference. He said
that he went to you and you said that he was someone who should
be employed. Basically, you did due diligence.
Having conducted an investigation into the News
of the World, you were the best person to decide on these
matters. As a result of what you said to himthese were
his exact words, although I do not have a copy for you because
it has not yet been written down, but I can send you the transcriptthat
was why he took him on. If you had raised any concerns whatsoever,
he would not have employed him in the Metropolitan police. What
do you say to that?
John Yates: I did not hear Mr
Fedorcio's evidence, but I think that that is slightly over-egging
the pudding, to put it mildly. I soughtit was not due diligence
in the due diligence senseassurances off Mr Wallis before
the contract was let. I wrote a note, which I will read, if you
like. It said: "Is there anything, in the matters that Nick
Davies is still chasing and still reporting on, that could at
any stage embarrass you, Mr Wallis, me, the Commissioner or the
Metropolitan police?" I received categorical assurances that
there were not. That is not due diligence. Due diligence is in
the proper letting of a contract. I had absolutely nothing to
do with that or the tendering process. That was a matter for Mr
It was prior to anything happening. It was a
conversation, which I made a contemporaneous record of because
I thought it was relevant. It is a very short record, which I
am happy to provide to the Committee. That was it. That is not
due diligence and it is certainly not a recommendation. I absolutely
know, because I have seen it happen in the Met on several occasions
in the past five years, that the letting of contracts is an extremely
sensitive issue. I would not touch it or go anywhere near it in
a million years.
Q882 Chair: But, again, you
have not seen or heard what he has said. He was pretty emphatic
that he relied on your integrity. That is why Mr Wallis ended
up getting this job. He left us with the impression that if you
had raised a scintilla of concern, even the slightest concern,
Mr Wallis would not have had this contract.
John Yates: I did not have a scintilla
of concern in 2009. The facts have changed.
Q883 Chair: But you did not
raise any concerns.
John Yates: I did not raise any
concerns, because I did not have a "scintilla of concern"
Q884 Chair: In respect of
the other matter that is in the public domain, which is the employment
of Mr Wallis's daughter, did you have anything to do with that?
John Yates: I am very happy to
answer questions on this, even though it is a matter that has
been referred to the IPCC. I am happy to be completely open with
the Committee. Again, I have done nothing wrong. I was a post
box for a CV from Mr Wallis's daughter. I have some notes in an
e-mail, which I am again happy to pass on to the Committee, which
give a completely equivocal interest in whether she gets employment.
I passed on that e-mail and the CV to the director of human resources
in the Met. Thereafter, I do not know what happened to it. It
happens all the time. I know that a number of Members of Parliament
employ friends and family. Bear in mind that this was January
2009. I think that is a very important point. I was not in charge
of specialist operations. I had nothing to do with phone hacking.
I had never touched it, and I simply acted as a post box for an
Q885 Chair: So you can categorically
deny to the Committee that you "secured this job for Mr Wallis's
John Yates: I absolutely and categorically
deny it, and the facts speak for themselves. There is one e-mail
from me, and I even said in the e-mail, "Please let me know,
director of HR, what the position is, so I can manage expectations."
As in, I am completely equivocal whether this individual gets
the job or not. The Met employs people all the time. We have massive
IT projects. If we wanted short-term staff, that is what we did.
I had absolutely nothing to do with her employment. I was simply
a post box.
Q886 Dr Huppert: The evidence
that you have clearly missed is just subbing, and your name seems
to come up quite a few times. First, how close were you to Mr
Wallis? We have heard that you were close friends since 1998.
Is that right?
John Yates: Again, I have been
described as a close friend. I became friends with him. I first
met Mr WallisI do not think it was 1998whenever
I was staff officer to the Commissioner, which I think was 2000.
I met him once then. I must have met him, in the next five to
six years, two or three times per yearif that. It was mostly
in the company of others, but occasionally on our own. I think
some of those are declared anyway in the hospitality register.
I would see Mr Wallis, I reckonI have given this some thoughttwo
or three times a year. I do not go round to his house on a regular
basis; I must have been round there once to pick him up to go
to a football match. It is mostly sport related with other people.
He is a friend.
Q887 Chair: We get that.
John Yates: I cannot be clearer,
but if Mr Wallis has done something wronglet me be absolutely
Q888 Chair: You are telling
this Committee that he is a friend of yours.
John Yates: Yes. I have been open
with this Committee and previous Committees.
Q889 Chair: We accept that
he is a friend of yours.
John Yates: Don't get the impression
that we are bosom buddies living in each other's houses, because
that is just not the case, and he would never describe it as that.
Chair: We understand that. We get the
Q890 Dr Huppert: But I am
also shocked about what you just said about employment practices
within the Met. You said that it happens all the time. Does it
really happen all the time that an Assistant Commissioner passes
a CV on to the director of human resources? A big organisation
like the Met surely has procedures for how people apply.
John Yates: It has formal procedures.
Q891 Dr Huppert: Are you really
telling the Committee that you did not think that you sending
that would make any difference to this person's chance of getting
John Yates: The director of HR,
as was then, if you knew him, you would know that he would absolutely
say that if there was anything improper about thishe actually
said so in an e-mail to mehe would have aborted the process
forthwith. He was that sort of person, so I know, in passing it
to that individual, that the matter will be dealt with entirely
appropriately, with complete probity and in the proper way.
The Metropolitan police turn over a huge amount
of staff. They want people for two weeks here, three weeks there,
a month there and a month there. It is quite a useful way of getting
people into your employment on a short-term basis. There are numerous
examples from numerous senior people, both within the Metropolitan
police and the Metropolitan Police Authority, where people who
are known to those people have been employed on a short-term basis,
and some have even become permanent employees in the future. It
is not unusual.
Q892 Dr Huppert: Do you think
that is a way that a public body ought to be behaving? That it
relies on that personal connection. You just described it as a
regular way of getting people in for two weeks here and three
weeks there. What about the people who do not know a Commissioner?
John Yates: We are turning over
a huge amount of staff. There are clearly normal processes that
happen, but occasionallyI am sure that it happens in the
House of Commons. You will bring people in to work for you for
a short-period placement with you on a regular or irregular basis.
Q893 Chair: Can I just ask
you about something that was raised by Sir Paul about his non-disclosure
to the Prime Minister about the contract that Mr Wallis had with
the Metropolitan police? He referred to an official at No. 10
saying to you or you saying to the official that the Prime Minister
should be protected from such information. Is there such an official?
If there is, who is this official who wanted everyone to keep
this information away from the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary?
Who was trying to protect the Prime Minister?
John Yates: Officials will always
try to protect their principals from these types of things. There
are very rare occasions when the Prime Minister will be briefed
about operational matters, mostly around national security and
Q894 Chair: Was there a decision
not to tell him about Mr Wallis?
John Yates: There was an offer
in early September 2010 for me to put into context some of the
nuances around police language, in terms of what a scoping is,
what an assessment is and what launching an investigation
Q895 Chair: An offer to whom?
John Yates: An offer to a senior
official within No. 10, to say, "Should that be desirable,
I am prepared to do it."
Q896 Chair: Who was that official?
John Yates: The official is the
chief of staff.
Chair: Ed Llewellyn.
John Yates: Yes.
Q897 Chair: You made an offer
to brief him fully on these issues?
John Yates: No. I did not say
that. I said that I offered to brief on the nuances of what a
scoping was. It was the New York Times issue. People say,
"You are launching an investigation." No, we were not.
But it is not well understood, as the word "review"
is not well understood, around these nuances. It was simply an
offer to explain what scoping meant and what it could lead to.
Q898 Chair: What happened
to that offer?
John Yates: The offer was properly
and understandably rejected.
Q899 Chair: So there was no
question of not telling the Prime Minister for operational matters
about Mr Wallis?
John Yates: I wouldn't have disclosed
any operational matters about this. It is the very rare occasions
that the PM would be briefed on operational matters. It would
be something catastrophic, something about national security,
or something of huge public concern, which this was not at that
stage, don't forget. It was simply an offer to explain police
Q900 Chair: I understand.
But you did not seek to tell the Mayor of London or the Home Secretary
that someone working for the Metropolitan police, whom you knew
as a friend, a close friend or whatever, was formerly the deputy
editor of the News of the World. You felt that that was
an operational matter, did you?
John Yates: It just wouldn't be
my place to do it. He was working to Dick Fedorcio predominantly,
for reasons that I know you have had explained to you regarding
his deputy's illness. There was some brief support for me as well.
Why would I ever think that it was my responsibility to brief
Chair: Thank you. I accept that.
Q901 Mr Winnick: When we had
the previous witness, the Director of Public Affairs, before us,
we asked him, in effect, if questions had been asked about Mr
Wallis over phone hacking prior to the appointment being made.
He said no, because in effect, this had all been cleared by you.
That's the situation, is it?
John Yates: Hopefully my earlier
answer has explained. What I did was not due diligence in the
truest sense. Once it goes into a letting and procurement process,
a clear process is undergone. Part of that, I suspect, is proper
due diligence, as opposed to my seeking personal assurances that
there was nothing untoward. Let us not forget that Mr Wallis is
an innocent man still, and we have no way of knowing what comes
out in the future. As I say, I will provide you with the memo;
you won't be able to read my writing, so I will type it for you.
It was a simple contemporaneous note, recorded in my day book,
to say, "Record of a home conversationsought assurances."
It is as simple as that.
Q902 Mr Winnick: What is not
quite simple, at least to me, is that phone hacking had been much
in the news. Investigations had taken place. You decided in 2009,
was it not so Mr Yates, not to continue with the investigation?
Am I right?
John Yates: In 2009, I did not
reopen an investigation.
Q903 Mr Winnick: You described
it to a newspaper as a "crap" investigation.
John Yates: I used that to describe
the word "decision" in the light of what I now knowthat
Mr Winnick: And yet
John Yates: Can I just finish
my point? If I had known then what I know now, and the facts appear
to be that New International has deliberately covered things up,
I would have made a completely different decision, and none of
us would be where we are today.
Mr Winnick: But bearing in mind that
two people had been convicted and sent to prison prior to 2009
for phone hacking, and the News of the World was very much
in the news as the paper that they worked for and which was supplied
information as a result of phone hacking, does it not seem to
you very strange indeed that the former deputy editor of the News
of the World should be taken on in that year, 2009, with you
having decided not to pursue the matter any further? Wouldn't
the first question to him have been, "Were you involved in
John Yates: I completely
appreciate that it looks odd now in the light of what we now know,
but I confidently predict that, as a result of News International
disclosures, a very small number of police officers will go to
prison for corruption. That does not taint the whole organisation.
There was simply no evidence against either Mr Coulson or Mr Wallis
at that point in 2009. The investigation had been carried out
in 2005-06 by others and it was thought to have been a success
at that time. There was nothing in that article in July 2009 to
suggest anything else. You say that it was a huge story then,
but it was not a huge story in September 2009. It re-emerged with
The New York Times in 2010, but it simply[Interruption.]
It was another one of those newspaper stories that gets a huge
blip and then goes down.
Q904 Mr Winnick: Would we
be right to conclude that no questions were asked by you to Mr
Wallis about phone hacking at the time when he was deputy editor
of News of the World?
John Yates: I have never asked
him any questions because he has never been a suspect.
Q905 Chair: Sorry. Mr Winnick
is asking whether you asked Mr Wallis whether he was involved
in phone hacking when you recommended him, or when advice was
John Yates: I sought assurances
about whether he had any role, or whether there was anything that
was going to embarrass him[Interruption.]
Q906 Mr Winnick: That is the
sort of question you would ask anybody.
John Yates: I'll read it in to
the evidence: "Summary of phone call with Neil Wallis re
potential contract with the metropolitan police service: phone
call took place yesterday, 31 August, circa 9 am." It was
a bank holiday, so I did not record it until the following day.
"Wanted: absolute assurance that there was nothing in the
previous phone-hacking matters still being reported and chased
by Nick Davies that could embarrass him, me, the commissioner
or the metropolitan police service. I received categorical assurances
that this was the case."
Q907 Bridget Phillipson: When
you had the discussion with the Prime Minister's chief of staff
about the offer, was any reason given for declining that offer?
John Yates: When I say it was
a discussion, it was a very brief e-mail exchange. Ed, for whatever
reasonand I completely understand itdid not think
that "it was appropriate for him, the Prime Minister or anyone
else in No. 10 to discuss this issue with you and be grateful
if it wasn't raised." It is very simpleand I can understand
it in some sense.
Q908 Bridget Phillipson: At
any point when Andy Coulson was employed by the Prime Minister,
did you ever meet him, or have you ever had any discussions with
John Yates: I have met him, but
I have never had a discussion about phone hacking, obviously.
Q909 Bridget Phillipson: And
did you discuss Mr Wallis with Andy Coulson?
John Yates: No.
Q910 Steve McCabe: Given that
Mr Wallis is or was a friend of yours, were you ever tempted to
ask him if your phone had been hacked or where the rumours about
your private life were coming from?
John Yates: The fact that I have
worked out in retrospect and hindsight that my phone may have
been hacked is of such small order to me that no, I have not,
Q911 Steve McCabe: You were
John Yates: No.
Q912 Steve McCabe: I want
to understand what you said about Mr Coulson. Have you spoken
to him since he was employed by Mr Cameron?
John Yates: I have spoken to Mr
Coulson at No. 10, with other officials.
Q913 Chair: When was that?
John Yates: I will have to look
in my diary. It was probably relatively early on. I think two
or three officials were present.
Q914 Chair: About these matters?
John Yates: No, no, about counter-terrorism,
police reform, and all the matters that I ought to be interested
Q915 Chair: Had you spoken
to Mr Wallis before you had gone to that meeting or afterwards?
John Yates: Well yes, but not
about any of the content.
Q916 Nicola Blackwood: Last
time you gave evidence to us, you mentioned that when you did
the review for eight hours in 2009, you felt that perhaps there
was a sense that you were doing the minimum to get it off your
desk because there were more important issues, given the terror
alert at that time. Was that your own assessment or did you get
that sense from the instructions that came from Sir Paul?
John Yates: Can I take you back
to the evidence and that particular exchange? Quite properly,
you broke in and interrupted my flow. I did start by saying "If
you had asked me that question"and there is probably
an element of thatbut then I went on to say that it is
a very small "if". I reiterate the point that had there
been any new evidenceif I had seen any new evidenceof
course we would have considered it and may have reopened the investigation,
depending on the level and quality of that evidence. I think the
"doing the minimum" has been taken out of context, because
I did qualify it and you did interrupt meyou did not interrupt
me in any discourteous way, but I did not get the full point out.
It is quite clear from the transcript that that was what I was
going to say.
Q917 Nicola Blackwood: What
was your understanding of the instructions that Sir Paul gave
you? What sort of attitude did you approach the review withthat
you can be as thorough as possible and give it high priority,
or that you should be as quick as possible and get it done within
the time frame that he had laid out, with the hope of giving the
press an announcement perhaps later that day?
John Yates: There was no time
frame laid out, because clearly
Q918 Nicola Blackwood: Well,
he did say, hoping perhaps to make a statement that day.
John Yates: That could have been
a holding statement, that could have been a completing statement,
that could have been any type of statement. So, first, there was
absolutely no time frame set out. It was as long or as short as
it had to be. I wrote myself a contemporaneous note that day,
which I think I have read into the evidence of another Committee,
but there were simply some principles I said"principles
to be adopted regarding Operation Caryatid", it was calledand
the request by the Commissioner to establish the facts around
I said, "I consider what approach I should
adopt in undertaking the above exercisespecifically, this
is not a review. It is to establish the facts around this case
and to consider whether there is anything new arising in The
Guardian article. I intend to adopt the following principles.
And I have outlined eight principles here. The scale, scope and
outcome in terms of the original case; consideration in relation
to the level of liaison with the CPS and counsel and any advice
they had provided; consideration of the approach adopted by the
prosecution team and their focus, i.e. the framework of the case;
any complexities and challenges around the evidence then and any
evidence now, in particular into the availability of data, because
data goes up to 12 months; the level of disclosure and who had
viewed what material", so I took that point; "how the
case was opened after guilty pleas; and whether there was anything
new or additional in terms of the articles in The Guardian;
and finally, our approach to victims, how they were managed and
dealt with, and the impact of any further inquiries, if deemed
necessary, on them." So I went through that process.
Now, I have accepted here, publicly, everywhere
I can, that our approach to victims was far from perfect in this
case. And it was a matter of
Q919 Chair: Yes. You told
us last week.
John Yates: That is the approach
I took, Ms Blackwood. So it wasn't a finger in the air, "I
don't fancy it". It was actually reasonably sophisticated
in terms of the points
Q920 Nicola Blackwood: Not
just on the issue of victims, there were a large number of principles
there to consider in eight hours about the way in which they relate
to 11,000 documents, which you admit were not freshly considered.
John Yates: But point five was
the level of disclosure and who had reviewed the material. I took
a view that it had been, in terms of two people had gone to prison.
Q921 Nicola Blackwood: Two
people had gone to prison, but 12,000 victims have been identified
now and only 12 had been identified at the time.
John Yates: I had been assured
that the material had been reviewed by counsel. Counsel will of
course say, as I said last time, they will review it in terms
of relevance to the indictment and I accept that. But I was assuredI
received assurance two or three days later to reaffirm thatthat
they had seen all the material and they had not seen anything
Okay, you can criticise me with hindsight, but
it was not ait was a reasonably sophisticated process to
go through around that article in a newspaper in which there was
nothing new at that time.
Q922 Nicola Blackwood: But
it was your decision that that was the process that you would
go through. That was not on instruction from Sir Paul. It was
your design entirely.
John Yates: Sir Paul would hopefully
Q923 Chair: To be fair to
you, we have heard from Sir Paul today. You did not hear his evidence
and he was very clear to this Committee that he was putting you
under no pressure. It was your call. He did say that he valued
your integrity, but it was your call.
John Yates: I have got 30 years'
experience, a lot of experience in the detective world, I have
done any number of reviews and establishing the facts. He would
expect me to adopt a process that has got some resilience and
that is reasonably sophisticated for what we were being asked
to do that day, which was an article in a newspaper. This wasn't
a body being found; this was an article in a newspaper.
Q924 Mark Reckless: Mr Yates,
you explained when we started our inquiry in September that CPS
advice constrained the Met's investigation. Indeed, as late as
July 2009 when you looked at this, and you said just now that
the CPS advice was a factor you considered, although I understand
from what you said before that you didn't go to them for new advice,
but at that time the CPS stated to our sister Committee the law,
"To prove the criminal offence of interception the prosecution
must prove that the actual message was intercepted prior to it
being accessed by the intended recipient." In light of that,
do you think there has been a fair allocation of blame between
the police and the CPS?
John Yates: As I stand here today,
no I do not. It is absolutely apparent throughout that we had
the clearest possible legal advice about what constituted a section
1 RIPA offence. That permeated the entire inquiry. We have written
to you and to Mr Whittingdale on it, and I have been bashing my
head against a proverbial brick wall to try to get that point
across. It is absolutely clear what advice we got. Anyone who
says that a police investigation isn't framed by legal advice
has never lived in the real world. It is of course what we did,
and it is, of course, how we will conduct the investigations both
now and in the future, Mr Reckless.
Q925 Chair: We have the former
DPP and the current DPP coming in at 5.30. You will be off before
then, by the way.
John Yates: I am enjoying myself
Chair: And we love seeing you, Mr Yates.
Q926 Alun Michael: You have
referred to police terminology sometimes being misunderstood.
You helped us with the word "review" last time we spoke.
The words "new evidence" have come up again and again.
You were asked by the Commissioner to look at the available material,
and in your letter to the Chairman you said that this resulted
in you tasking a senior investigating officer to ascertain if
there was any new information that might require investigation.
John Yates: Is this The New
Alun Michael: Yes, that's right. I want
to be clear about that, because there may be misunderstandings.
In the general public mind and perhaps in the mind of parliamentarians,
we thought that there was an instruction being given to look at
the available material to see whether there was anything that
showed offences had been committed by people other than the couple
of people who had been sentenced and whether there were other
victims other than those who had already been identified. Is that
general public and parliamentary impression wrong? Will you clarify
John Yates: I am not quite certain
of the question.
Q927 Alun Michael: In everyday
parlance, we all thought that at an earlier stage of the inquiry
the Commissioner had requested, "Get back to looking at all
of this and see whether there is anything else that has not been
uncovered." In other words, we thought that the request was
as broad as that, and that therefore anything that was untoward
and could possibly be pursued in a way that would lead to prosecution
should be investigated.
John Yates: I hope that I have
explained the method. Bearing in mind what we knew in 2009 compared
with what we know now, we looked at what would merit that investment
of resources and what would be my level of concern to say, "Gosh,
there is something there that we haven't seen or spotted before,"
of a case that had been through the courts, had been reviewed
by counsel and had been properly prosecuted and instructed by
the CPS. There is nothing there that would say, "With hindsight,
God, I wish I had done that." It is really
Q928 Alun Michael: I understand
that. I am trying to get to the nature of the decisions at that
stage. We heard from Mr Clarke that there was a fairly narrow
focus because you were looking to pursue certain individuals and
to bring the case to a
John Yates: That was the start
point of the case.
Alun Michael: That's right. When you
were asked by the Commissioner to take a fresh lookfor
the avoidance of misunderstanding, let's not use the word "review"did
you task your officers to have a look at all that and see whether
there is anything there, or did you task them to take a narrow
look at the material?
John Yates: It was a fresh look
at The Guardian article, just as the start point in 2005
was concern about the security of the Royal princes.
Q929 Alun Michael: So it was
framed by The Guardian article? It wasn't wider than that
in looking at whether there was anything there?
John Yates: No, because, frankly,
why would we have done then what we knew then? I have been before
numerous Committees trying to explain that. You know now something
different, I doand God, I wish I had done something different.
Q930 Alun Michael: Understood.
You would accept, I think, that many people felt that there was
something around, and that it ought to be brought out into the
open somehow. What you were tasked with, and what you tasked your
office with, was a narrower look at this area. Is that correct?
John Yates: That is absolutely
right, yes. Newspapers, on a weekly basis, will run very interesting
articlesclassy investigative journalism: "Gosh, that's
interesting" but we don't launch an investigation
on the back of all of those. It is just, "Is there anything
new in The Guardian article of 9 July?"; I am certain
there was not.
Q931 Mr Clappison: May I ask
something on a different subject, which goes to the issue of what
was going on at the time, since we have you here, Assistant Commissioner?
I imagine that you were very busy
Chair: Not too wide, Mr Clappison.
Mr Clappison: It is very much related
to this inquiry--the behaviour of certain parts of the press.
You were probably very busy last night. There was a report on
Channel 4 News into the case of Daniel Morgan, which I think you
may be familiar with.
John Yates: Intimately.
Q932 Mr Clappison: To me,
as a layman, it was a very alarming report about the way in which
the investigation, I think by Chief Superintendent Cook, was interfered
with at the time. This is going back to 2002, when that investigation
was launched. It was an old case, which had happened in 1987.
Can you tell us what you know about that, because I believe that
you went to a newspaper office to speak to them about it? Is that
John Yates: I don't think I did.
Q933 Mr Clappison: There was
a report in The Observer that somebody from the Met had
been to see them.
John Yates: I became involved
in the Daniel Morgan case in or round about 2005 or 2006. It's
a case that's been subject to numerous investigations and reinvestigations,
but my involvement is about 2006 onwards. It's a huge inquiry;
there are something like 750,000 documents in the inquiry.
Q934 Mr Clappison: To cut
to the chase, the point of it was that the officer who was investigating
the murder was himself placed under investigation by the News
of the World, who allegedly had some interest in the case.
John Yates: I am fully aware of
the issue that has been in the public domain around Dave Cook,
surveillance and all those issues. I am also aware, although I
wasn't present, that there was a meeting at the Yard between Dick
Fedorcio and Rebekah Brooks, where these matters were discussed.
I don't know the outcome of that, and I wasn't responsible for
the case at the time.
Q935 Mr Clappison: Did you
try to find out why that officer had been investigated by the
News of the World at that time?
John Yates: No, I didn't. Why
would I? I wasn't responsible for the case.
Q936 Mr Clappison: But you
became interested in it later on? I'm not blaming you. I am trying
to get at what happened.
John Yates: That makes a change.
Q937 Mr Clappison: You're
actually praised, if I may say, in The Guardian today in
respect of this.
John Yates: Good Lord. The thing
that concerns me, and the thing that I discussed with Dave Cook,
was his personal security. That's what would have concerned me.
Dave would know and I would know that we put in place sufficient
reassurance around his personal security. What happened in 2002,
I would not be taking that further forward at that point.
Q938 Mr Clappison: You didn't
seek to investigate why he was placed under investigation by the
News of the World?
John Yates: It was common knowledge
between Dave and I that that had taken place. I put in place with
David appropriate personal security measures, and relevant advice,
to ensure that he felt confident in doing his job.
Q939 Mr Clappison: It was
when he was investigating a particular case that he came under
investigation. He was investigating the Daniel Morgan case, relaunching
the investigation. When that happened, according to Channel 4,
he was placed under investigation himself. Do you know why that
John Yates: I don't know why it
happened. It was 2002, and I wasn't responsible.
Chair: Thank you for that line of questioning.
Can we go on to Michael Ellis, who will bring us back?
Q940 Michael Ellis: May I
come back to a couple of things? First, you repeated this afternoon
an assertion that you made last time before this Committee that
it was effectively News International who were not co-operating
that caused us to be here. Do you accept that wrongdoers often
do not co-operate with the police?
John Yates: I absolutely accept
Q941 Michael Ellis: Do you
rely on the fact that they were not co-operating to blame them
for where you are now, or where the Metropolitan Police is now?
John Yates: On numerous occasions
I have tried to explain to this Committee the issue around production
orders. I have letters from News International going back to 2005,
2006, 2009, where they clearly, with legal advice, have constructed
replies to letters that absolutely constrain the police's ability
to get a production order.
Q942 Michael Ellis: With respect
John Yates: I am afraid that you
haven't listened to me, and no one is listening to me on this
point. It is absolutely clear. Wethe divisional investigation
teamprepared a production order in 2005-06. We were told
by the CPS and our own in-house legal people that you simply cannot
take that forward, a judge will not accept it.
Q943 Michael Ellis: Then you
did not have enough evidence, Mr Yates. I am listening to what
you are saying. The Committee is listening.
John Yates: It is not the point,
Mr Ellis. The point is if they are seen to co-operate and you
don't have evidence that they are not co-operating, you cannot
get a production order.
Q944 Michael Ellis: But a
business does not have to open its doors to the police without
good cause. You say that they constructed legal arguments to impede
you, but the reality is that you should have had evidence so that
you wouldn't have needed legal arguments to deconstruct. You would
have been able to get a search warrant. You had 11,000 pages of
evidence sitting in the basement at Scotland Yard.
John Yates: If the News International
lawyers demonstrate that they are co-operating with police inquiries,
and they have evidence that they are co-operatingand there
was evidence, because they were providing invoices and all sorts
of stuffunless you have contrary evidence, that they are
deliberately obstructing you in any way, you cannot get a production
order. There are lawyers round this table, I know, who will reiterate
that. You cannot get a production order.
Q945 Michael Ellis: Yes, I
am one of them. But the reality is that you are seeking to blame
the legal process for something that is actually the Metropolitan
police's fault. Isn't it?
John Yates: I completely disagree
Q946 Michael Ellis: Do you
know who first recommended Mr Wallis to Mr Fedorcio?
John Yates: I don't know.
Q947 Michael Ellis: You didn't
make inquiries about that when you were asked to be the post box
that you referred to?
Chair: This is Miss Fedorcio, no sorry,
Miss Wallis, the daughter?
Michael Ellis: Did
you make inquiries about Mr Wallis at all for Mr Fedorcio? Do
you know who first recommended him?
John Yates: I cannot recall how
Dick came to his process in terms of who else was on the list,
the responsibility for producing the tendering process, identifying
potential people. That was all for Dick, and I am sure he said
that. I was awareI don't know when, but presumably before
31 August 2009that Neil Wallis was one of those. That is
why I sought those assurances.
Q948 Michael Ellis: Do you
know how he came to be one of those?
John Yates: I don't know. Surely
you would have asked Mr Fedorcio.
Q949 Chair: You didn't suggest
his name? Mr Fedorcio came to you and said, "We're thinking
of appointing this guy. You know him, what do you think of him?"
John Yates: That could well have
happened. That wouldn't have been unusual.
Q950 Chair: You didn't suggest
John Yates: I can't recall.
Q951 Chair: He said you did
John Yates: I can't absolutely
recall that process. He was a guy who had recently left his appointment.
He was setting up a PR business, with just the type of advice
we wanted then. It is perfectly possible, yes.
Q952 Michael Ellis: The job
for Mr Wallis's daughter--you say you acted as a post box in that
John Yates: I am happy to provide
the e-mail on that.
Q953 Michael Ellis: How many
times had you done that for others?
John Yates: Two, three, four times.
Q954 Michael Ellis: Over a
period of how long? Your entire career?
John Yates: I can't recall. In
terms of work placements, my PA would say that I do it too often.
Probably twice a year.
Q955 Michael Ellis: So it
wasn't a particularly busy post box. I am talking about you referring
a potential employee to the head of human resources. You found
that an appropriate thing to do.
John Yates: I was aware that the
head of human resources was seeking short-term placements. I simply
forwarded a CV. I had nothing to do thereafter.
Q956 Michael Ellis: Were any
others connected with News International?
John Yates: Absolutely.
Q957 Chair: Sorry, did you
John Yates: Absolutely not.
Chair: Absolutely not. You took us by
surprise. Mark Reckless and then Bridget Phillipson, and then
we will close.
Q958 Mark Reckless: As a lawyer,
I think I understand your point about production orders. I suspect
BCL Burton Copeland and perhaps, more pertinently, Harbottle and
Lewis are going to have to show a judge-led inquiry that they
stayed on the right side of the line. I think Mr Ellis's point
is, did you not have those 11,000 pages of documents? If you had
gone through those and perhaps found the names of a few News
of the World journalists, might not that have allowed you
to put the evidence to a court to get a production order?
As I said, I was not responsible in 2005-06. Those who were have
come to this Committee and have accounted for what they did or
allegedly did not do, so I cannot answer for that point.
Mark Reckless: By you I meant the Met
rather than you personally. I apologise.
Q959 Bridget Phillipson: On
Mr Reckless's earlier point about RIPA, just so I am absolutely
clear, in the prosecution of Goodman and Mulcaire, was it a known
fact that those two individuals had listened to voicemail messages
prior to the recipient listening to the voicemail messages?
John Yates: There were cases,
yesthose that we could prove. We have been through the
technical process of how you prove a voicemail has been accessed
prior to the intended recipients listening to it. There were cases,
yes. As I have said to this Committeeforgive me if I have
got confusedthere was only one case that we could actually
prove on a technical basis. Others had to be proved through a
mixture of other police techniques to satisfy a court that it
had been listened to prior to being accessed. People were told
for example, "Leave your phone. Don't access your voicemail
messages and let's see what happens."
Q960 Bridget Phillipson: There
is a list of people in that case whose voicemails had been listened
to both before and afterwards.
John Yates: As I thought, yes.
Q961 Nicola Blackwood: Before
we close, I want to give you a chance to clarify some comments
made by Mr Fedorcio in the light of the newspaper reports about
your friendship with Mr Wallis, which in your evidence you say
was overstated. We were a little surprised to hear that he had
come to ask you to do the due diligence. He said the reason for
that was that you had been involved in the hacking and had some
expertise in the problems that might arise with employing a News
of the World journalist. We then asked him, "Did you
not disclose the fact that you were a friend of Mr Wallis and
had been a friend since 1998?" Mr Fedorcio did not seem to
want to answer that and implied that he did not know. I just wonder
what your response would be, as it would be helpful for the Committee
to know exactly what you told Mr Fedorcio in that conversation
when you agreed to do the due diligence.
John Yates: Let me take it in
stages. First, whatever is written in The Observer this
weekend, is, in the parlance, codswallop. I have explained to
the CommitteeI am not disowning peoplethat the level
of contact and the level of friendship is nothing like as described
in The Observer, as it was then.
Secondly, I am pretty surprised that Dick wouldn't
have known that I knew Wallis in that sense. I can't speak for
him. I have absolutely nothing to hide around it, and I have said
so on several occasions. I am confident that what I am saying
is absolutely the truth. You described it as due diligence again.
It wasn't; it was just seeking assurances. Due diligence is something
a tendering process would do.
Q962 Nicola Blackwood: So
there was additional due diligence done by somebody who was independentas
far as you are aware?
John Yates: I have no idea. I
was a million miles from the tendering process, so I don't know.
Q963 Nicola Blackwood: So
because you believe that there was an additional process, you
didn't feel it necessary to say, "Because I am a friend,
or even an acquaintance, of this individual, I feel like I might
be too close to this and it would be inappropriate for me to do
John Yates: I was not doing
due diligence in the formal sense. I was just seeking assurances.
It was prior to any of the contracts being let as well. Let me
be absolutely clear, it was not due diligence in the accepted
Q964 Chair: We understand
that. Sir Paul, in his evidence and indeed in his resignation
statement, said that the Prime Minister had appointed someone
who used to work for News of the World and there was no
reason why he shouldn't have done so. Do you agree with that sentiment?
John Yates: I have nothing
to disagree with around it. It does not give us any level of assurance
different than the Prime Minister had, so I am not really sure
whether it is relevant. We are responsible for different things.
The Prime Minister is responsible for running the country. We
are responsible for investigations. It is slightly different,
but I suppose that it can give you some comfort in that sense.
Q965 Chair: May I pick up
one or two final points? You said in your evidence that you confidently
predict that some police officers will go to prison in respect
of these matters.
John Yates: If the corruption
cases, which we suspect are very small and very few in number,
are properly investigated, I have no doubt that people will go
Q966 Chair: When did you come
to that view?
John Yates: I come to the view
that if you put a level of investigative expertise and resources
around these issues, you tend to get the results. If the evidence
is there, the evidence will be followed through.
Q967 Chair: The next point
is about the bin bags that you mentioned to The Sunday Telegraph
and to us. What is the rule about the destruction of evidence?
How many years do the police hold evidence for before it is destroyed?
The last time they were really looked at, before you put them
on the database, was in 2006. I understand that there is a six-year
John Yates: It depends on whether
it is a matter of huge national interest whether they are kept
in perpetuity. I think it is six or seven years. I will have to
Q968 Chair: You did not see
them yourself but you understood that they were around. Is that
John Yates: Yes.
Q969 Chair: On Operation Weeting,
which is progressing, have you been kept informed of what is happening,
up until the time of your resignation of course? For example,
did you know that Rebekah Brooks was going to be arrested on Sunday?
John Yates: No. Operation Weeting
has quite properly put a complete firewall around what it is doing.
I know nothing of the developments, the next developments or anything
Q970 Chair: What about your
future, Mr Yates? You have now resigned. Do you have no plans
to take up journalism, as Mr Hayman did when he left the Met?
Mr Winnick: What about The Guardian?
John Yates: On a serious point,
I have expressed regrets that more was not done about those potentially
affected in 2005-06 and 2009. I paid a heavy price for it in announcing
my intention to resign, but I am accountable for what took place.
We also must remember that it is not the police who have failed
here in every respect, it is News International that has failed
to provide us with the evidence it should have provided in 2005-06.
Yesterday, I said that I was accountable and I that I needed to
stand up and be counted. I have done that. I do think it is time
for others to face up to their responsibilities and do likewise.
Q971 Chair: Who do you mean
John Yates: I think it is very
clear. News International.
Q972 Chair: Since you discovered
what has been going on you have obviously had contact with News
International in one way or another, either socially, at meetings
or whatever. Do you make this point when you see the people there?
Do you tell them, "If you had co-operated more we could have
got to the truth"?
John Yates: I do not discuss these
matters with News International now.
Q973 Chair: But you do think
that News International should take the responsibilities that
you and Sir Paul have taken?
John Yates: I absolutely do.
Q974 Chair: And that means
resignations of more people from News International?
John Yates: That is a matter for
Q975 Chair: This is probably
the last time that you will appear before this Committee in your
John Yates: Is that a promise?
Chair: So can I place on record the Committee's
appreciation of the way in which you have always approached these
sessions? You have always been most co-operative and have been
ready to come at very short notice. Every one of the commentators,
including the Mayor, the Home Secretary and, I think, the Prime
Minister, has mentioned your work on counter-terrorism, which
I know is your main interest, and the work you did in respect
of rape victims, of which I think you are particularly proud.
May I, on behalf of the Committee, wish you the best of luck?
John Yates: Thank you.