Assistant Met commissioner John Yates addresses the home affairs select committee on phone hacking
MP Keith Vaz told the assistant Metropolitan police commissioner John Yates that his evidence to the home affairs select committee on phone hacking today was "unconvincing" and that he "should not regard this as the end of the matter".
Vaz, who is chairman of the cross-party committee, was one of several MPs who grilled Yates' about the Met's original 2005/6 phone-hacking investigation and his role in a 2009 review of that investigation.
Committee members also repeatedly questioned Yates over whether his position at the Met remained tenable given the revelations about its failed investigation into the scandal.
Vaz asked: "Have you considered your position? ... Have you actually offered to resign?"
Yates said that he had not, replying: "If you're suggested that I should resign for what News International has done and my small part in it, then I think that is unfair."
Vaz later added: Do you really feel that you can continue in your position? ... That there is confidence in you not only from the Met but from the public?
Yates replied he had "expressed deep regret" about the failings in the initial Met investigation and his own oversight of the process, but said that it was "not a resignation matter".
Yates was also asked by the Conservative MP Lorraine Fulbrook whether he had himself received payments from a new outlet at any point for information. Clearly taken aback, Yates called the question "amazing".
"That's an amazing question and I have never received a payment of any sort."
He admitted, however, it was "highly probable" that Met police officers had taken payments, and said there had been corrupt police officers "since time immemorial".
Yates was forced to admit during the session that he had not sought fresh legal advice in July 2009, when he was asked by commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson to look at the original Met investigation that took place in 2005/6.
He reiterated denials he made in a Daily Telegraph article last week, that it was not a review
he had undertaken, saying he had simply sought information from senior officers about whether a Guardian article that led to Stephenson's request contained any new information.
Yates repeatedly argued he was told the Guardian article contained nothing that led him to believe that the phone-hacking scandal went beyond the two men already imprisoned, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and royal reporter Clive Goodman.
He insisted he had "never lied" to the committee or any other that he had appeared before, but acknowledged that he may have "unwittingly" misled the committee.
"Every answer I've given to this and other committees has been in good faith based on the information I had at the time."
"If I've unwittingly misled this committee than that is a matter of regret, of course."
Yates instead blamed the failure of News International to provide the Met with the necessary information.
"We simply were not provided with that material when we should have been," he told the committee.
Yates had previously threatened to sue Labour MP Chris Bryant, who accused the assistant commissioner of having "deliberately misled" the home affairs committee during his previous testimony.
Yates said that Bryant was "materially wrong" to accuse him of misleading the commission.
Yesterday Bryant called for Yates to resign, claiming that he was guilty of "repeatedly lying" to MPs.
Fellow Labour MP Tom Watson, who successfully lobbied for an emergency House of Commons debate on the phone-hacking scandal after revelations about Milly Dowler's phone being hacked, joined Bryant in calling for Yates' resignation, saying he had "misled parliament" and his position was "untenable".
Yates also told the committee that he was 99 per cent sure his own phone had been hacked by the News of the World during the investigation.
A New York Times report published today alleges the phones of five senior officers investigating phone hacking, including Yates and former assistant commissioner Andy Hayman, who lead the original investigation, had had their own voicemails targeted by the News of the World.