London's deputy police chief quits over hacking scandal
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Scotland Yard’s deputy commissioner John Yates resigned Monday over the phone-hacking scandal engulfing members of the British police and press. Yates decided in 2009 not to pursue a probe into eavesdropping claims, a decision he now says he regrets.
AP - London Mayor Boris Johnson said Monday that Scotland Yard’s assistant commissioner resigned after being told he’d be suspended, in the second high-profile police department casualty over the quickly spreading phone hacking scandal in as many days.
John Yates made a decision two years ago to not re-open police inquiries into electronic eavesdropping of voice mail messages, saying he did not believe there was any new evidence to consider. He has said in recent weeks he regrets that decision.
Yates’ boss, police commissioner Paul Stephenson, resigned Sunday over his ties to Neil Wallis, a former News of the World executive editor who has been arrested over the scandal.
Johnson said both men had made the right decision in resigning.
Earlier Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron called for an emergency session of Parliament to brief lawmakers on the scandal, trying to gain control of a crisis that is threatening Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, the upper echelons of London’s police force and the country’s leader himself.
Parliament is due to break for the summer on Tuesday after lawmakers grill Murdoch, his son James and his former British chief executive Rebekah Brooks about the scandal, but Cameron said “it may well be right to have Parliament meet on Wednesday so I can make a further statement.”
Cameron was speaking in Pretoria, South Africa, on the first day of a two-day visit to the continent. He had planned a longer trip, but cut it short as his government faces a growing number of questions about its relationship with the Murdoch empire and a scandal that has taken down top police and media figures with breathless speed.
Opposition leader Ed Miliband said Cameron needed to answer “a whole series of questions” about his relationships with Brooks, James Murdoch and Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor later hired as Cameron’s communications chief.
“At the moment he seems unable to provide the leadership the country needs,” Miliband said.
In the latest twist in the legal saga, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, Britain’s anti-fraud agency, said Monday it was giving “full consideration” to a request from a lawmaker that it open an investigation into Murdoch’s News Corp.
The office said any possible probe would be limited to News Corp. activities in Britain, but it added that it is ready to assist authorities in the U.S., where the FBI has already opened an inquiry into whether 9/11 victims or their families were also hacking targets of News Corp. journalists.
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