Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now

Pressure is mounting on Boris Johnson and David Cameron over the phone hacking scandal tonight, following the resignations of the Metropolitan Police's top two.

Pressure is mounting on Boris Johnson and David Cameron over the phone hacking scandal tonight, with people asking how it’s the case the Met’s top two police officers have lost their jobs yet the country’s two leading Tory politicians – and hack-deniers – remain in place, unrepentant, unapologetic, and under fire from their own side.

Senior Labour figures today came as close as they could to calling for the prime minister to consider his position without calling on him to resign – with the London Mayor similarly under attack for his own failure to take phone hacking seriously.

Onto Mr Cameron shortly, but first to Mr Johnson, who, let it be recalled, only last year said (pp 22-25, pdf) of the phone hacking scandal:

“I am completely satisfied [with the Met’s handling of the allegations].”

“[Labour are raising this] simply in order to score party political points against the prime minister’s press spokesman.”

“I think it looks like a politically motivated put up job.”

“This is completely spurious and political.”

“You are trying to make a song and dance about nothing in my view.”

“This is a load of codswallop cooked up by the Labour Party.”

“As far as I can see, this is something that has been already substantially investigated, where no new and interesting facts have been brought into the public domain and which is being whipped up by the Guardian and the Labour Party.”

“I have every confidence that the police will come to the right conclusion.”

The Mayor held a hastily-convened press conference at City Hall this afternoon, in which he was repeatedly challenged by journalists over his past comments, to which he appeared, for once, lost for words. Humiliated, he admitted he had “misunderstood the severity of the allegations”, and that “it became obvious the scandal was far worse than previously indicated”.

His belated contrition, however, isn’t washing.

His predecessor, and challenger for the Mayoralty next year, Ken Livingstone, told BBC News 24:

“I wasn’t Mayor when it blew up it blew up in 2009 when the guardian exposed the scale of it… They’ve both gone [Yates and Stephenson]; the politicians remain… He [Boris] said it was a load of old codswallop…

“Even after the news that Milly Dowler’s phone had been hacked he was defending them and called for Rebekah Brooks to stay… It looks like this is a coalition between the Conservative Party and News International.”

For Mr Cameron, meanwhile, the pressure rises with each day, each hourunder attack from his own MPs for going to Africa in the middle of the crisis and under fire from the Opposition, with Ed Miliband again demanding to be told who knew what and when over Andy Coulson’s dodgy past, and calling once again on the prime minister once to apologise for bringing such an individual into Downing Street.

While in a devastating editorial, the normally loyal Daily Telegraph today says:

“Far from easing the pressure on David Cameron, Sir Paul’s departure increases it. For nearly a fortnight now, Downing Street has had to have information dragged from it about the closeness of the Prime Minister’s relationship with News International and, in particular, Rebekah Brooks, who became the latest News International executive to be arrested yesterday.

“Ever since Mr Cameron made the fatal error of appointing Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor, as his press spokesman, the waters of this murky affair have been lapping at his feet. They show no sign of receding. If anything, they are rising.”

This evening, Labour figures, in Parliament to the media are asking why different rules apply to the prime minister than the head of the Met, who in his resignation statement last night, pointedly said:

“Unlike Mr Coulson, Mr Wallis had not resigned from the News of the World or, to the best of my knowledge, been in any way associated with the original phone hacking investigation.”

Quite.

Mr Cameron’s brand as a competent politician of sound judgment has been seriously undermined by this episode; if it emerges he knew more than he is letting on, it would be very serious for him indeed.

Left Foot Forward will have further coverage of the phone hacking scandal tomorrow – including Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks’s appearances before the culture, media and sport select committee.

49 Responses to “Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now”

  1. Shamik Das

    Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now: //bit.ly/qBzNcc – #hackgate latest from @ShamikDas

  2. Chris Horner

    Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now: //bit.ly/qBzNcc – #hackgate latest from @ShamikDas

  3. checkpointcharlie

    Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now: //bit.ly/qBzNcc – #hackgate latest from @ShamikDas

  4. Rocky Hamster

    RT @leftfootfwd: Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now //t.co/dJb59K7

  5. pansypotter41

    Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now: //bit.ly/qBzNcc – #hackgate latest from @ShamikDas

  6. Kevin Richards

    Who's next to jump ship? : Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now //t.co/WcZUiOL

  7. John Lever

    Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now: //bit.ly/qBzNcc – #hackgate latest from @ShamikDas

  8. Helen Evans

    Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now: //bit.ly/qBzNcc – #hackgate latest from @ShamikDas

  9. 13eastie

    We’ve had fortnight of Miliband bleating nasally on about Andy Coulson, accompanied by numerous resignations and a major climbdown on plans to improve the NHS.

    During which time, Labour has lost another 3% to the coalition in the polls.

    So whom should we suppose, with his new leadership “confidence” is really “under pressure”?

  10. Rubyfruit

    Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now: //bit.ly/qBzNcc – #hackgate latest from @ShamikDas

  11. Ed's Talking Balls

    ‘hack-deniers’

    What an odd thing to say.

    Have either Johnson or Cameron denied that hacking has taken place? Have either denied that it was a disgrace? This is hardly like politicians on the left either denying that there is a deficit or that it is a problem, so I doubt this feeble attempt to coin a new phrase will be successful.

    There are more important things in the world than phone hacking by News International. This must be dealt with, no doubt about it, and it is a very serious matter: there can be no attempt to sweep it under the rug. But I for one am not going to pretend that this is in any way comparable, in seriousness, to the ongoing financial crisis and ongoing conflicts abroad.

  12. Leon Wolfson

    13eastie – Yes, please keep playing down the importance of attacks on the basics of the UK’s democratic system. Can’t have real choices now, can we. Ra Ra Tories!

    Snort.

  13. InternationalUNCUT

    Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now | Left Foot Forward //fb.me/Cl7p3TAq

  14. 13eastie

    ETB rightly highlights the poverty of perspective that has typified this wretched business.

    Labour and LFF need a serious reality check.

    The suggestion that the Prime Minister might resign is ludicrous.

    We might consider what has failed to constitute a resignation issue previously?

    Tony Blair’s press secretary saw to it that we went to war against a sovereign nation on the basis of a lie. Our elected representatives were lied to in parliament and deceived into reacting to a threat that had simply never existed.

    British Military deaths: 179
    Excess Iraqi deaths: c. 1m
    Whistle-blower suicides: 1
    Culpable Govt Resignations: nil

    Perhaps, before shrieking further for ministerial blood, LFF might consider for a moment the possibility that many people would find the sending of young men to their deaths on a Blair-Campbell pretext a graver crime than snooping on the same lads’ parents’ voicemails.

  15. Leon Wolfson

    Really, so a policy decision agreed in parliament is the same thing as criminal actions? Great, I’m going to hold you responsible for every single death caused by government policy in the future, torie.

  16. 13eastie

    Is this the type of thing has has got ‘Leon’ so agitated?

  17. Leon Wolfson

    Why would I be bothered about that? Oh right, Tory mind – there has to be something I’m “agitated” about besides his support for trashing the support system of this country, which will lead to – at least – several thousand deaths, and a mass forced-migration which could reasonable be compare with other forms of economic ethnic clensing used in places like Russia.

    Right. No, it has to be that I’m somehow a supporter of News International, when in fact I detest them and wouldn’t be caught using the Sun to to light the hob ring which has a broken igniter, let alone reading it.

    Anyway, as I said, by your logic every single one of those deaths are on your hands. And you can be sure I’ll use it against you, ty.

  18. m gilmore

    murdoch rang blair up on the eve or the Iraq war to give him advice (from the guardian) – if any realtionship should be investigated it is that one! Where have the blairs got £60 million pounds from? – Princes William and Harrys’ fortune amounts, together, to about £25m, Daniel Radcliffe’s £45m The Blair’s £60m – impossible!

  19. Robert

    Labour including Miliband have had their day with Murdock, Cameron made a massive mistake, but if Labour had been in power the same questions would be asked about Labour since in June Miliband was speaking at a NOTW do.

    The problem is when you have a person like Murdock and you do not have the guts to stand up to him, then sadly you bend the knee and take what he gives.

    Cameron, Blair, Brown, Miliband have all been to the NOTW and News International parties so complaining about it now is a bit of a joke.

    But this will die a death within six months and then we will see whom or what Labour will use to try and show us it’s on the ball.

  20. 13eastie

    Leon,

    I served as an army officer before training as a doctor.

    I’m certain that your threat to hold me ‘responsible’ for people’s future expiry would only be potentiated further by an account of your experience of making (and living with) life-and-death decisions.

  21. Mr. Sensible

    I cannot believe some of these comments.

    There are more important things going on than phone hacking? Strait from the Borris Johnson school, that one. Try telling that to some of the victims.

    Second, s Leon has said, I don’t think you can compare a parliamentary decision with something like this. And for the record I do not agree with you on Iraq.

  22. Mr. Sensible

    Cameron’s lack of leadership on this matter has simply been appalling. Miliband called for the enquiry – it’s now happening, Miliband called for Brooks to resign, Cameron said nothing, and she resigned. Miliband called on Cameron to reverse his original decision on B Sky B, he defended it, and then did refer it to the Competition Commission. I’m afraid the Conservatives have made a total mess of this.

    And on that poll 13eastie, I think we’re going to have to monitor trends a bit more closely to determine whether it is in fact a trend or a rogue poll; only 1 other poll this year has had the Tories in the lead, by the same company.

  23. Leon Wolfson

    13eastie – So as well as not caring about the deaths the policies you are supporting cause, you’re likely breaking your professional oath? Nice.

    I need to start investigating my doctor’s political beliefs so I can ensure I’ll get proper treatment, it seems.

  24. 13eastie

    @13, Leon,

    I’d be delighted to learn how you’d seek to derive your doctor’s “political beliefs”. (Not everyone is allowed to bring their dogma/self-hate to the work-place).

  25. Ed's Talking Balls

    ‘There are more important things going on than phone hacking?’

    Mr. Sensible, I can’t fathom why you would ask that question, seemingly incredulous.

    Of course there are more important things than phone hacking. Have you heard of matters of life and death? If so, I put it to you that wars and natural disasters (e.g. Afghanistan and the humanitarian crisis owing to the drought in East Africa) are far more important. Further, have you heard of economic crises? I put it to you that such momentous events, which destroy lives on a mass scale, are also far more important.

    You say ‘try telling that to some of the victims’. I would do just that, were I to meet one. Of course victims, such as Milly Dowler’s family and the families of those killed on active service, are appalled and disgusted by what News International has done. So are all decent people. But I doubt that these victims believe the hacking of their loved ones’ phones was more hideous than what happened to their loved ones in the first place. Providing and sustaining an effective police force and criminal justice system is more important than phone hacking. Ensuring that we only go into war when absolutely necessary and ensuring that, when we do, our troops are properly equipped and treated with dignity when they return is also far more important.

    I retain perspective here, even if the BBC and Guardian aren’t prepared to.

  26. Leon Wolfson

    Except you just boasted about how you do.

    I cannot simply trust that you are not my doctor, given your expressed views, and your clear violation of most doctor’s oaths you are engaged in, given that they are NOT limited to the workplace.

    (What I’m sworn to is a far more limited oath for emergency (“paramedic”) care, and I quite simply will not violate it!)

  27. Robert

    Harriet on News night now with some Tory, it sounded like two children playing some gamne, my leader is better then your leader.

    It’s like kids playing politics.

    The fact is both parties have messed up big time, both parties were in Murdock pocket both parties were scared stiff to do anything, Brown was so far off beat he I suspect saw nothing wrong with crying to day and then drinking champers the next week or going to Brooks wedding.

    Both of these leaders were scared of what Murdock could do.

  28. chris star

    Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain For now..
    //j.mp/o0App0
    #hackgate

  29. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – As a mouthpiece for New Labour have you forgotten it was YOUR government who was in power when all this “hacking” went on?

    Lose the hate and smearing please Leom Wolfson – it blinds your every comment and it is just unattractive. Why don’t you answer the questions these other people ask instead of smearing them?

    You claim not to subscribe to Sky TV so why aren’t you calling for the hypocrite Labour activists who do give their money gladly every month to the Murdochs to stop doing it?

    Start with this very author Shamik Das who is constantly having a dig at this lot whilst gladly giving his money every month to support them. That’s loyalty to Ed Miliband for you.

    Today’s excuse Leon Wolfson?

  30. Selohesra

    Why has Ed Balls been so quiet throughout all this – he is Labours best attack dog afterall. Has he been sidelined by Milliblank so he can claim glory or are there there some sordid secrets about Balls that prevent him running with this story?

  31. Leon Wolfson

    Anon – It’s equally factually true that I’m a mouthpiece for new labour (who I have no use for) as you’re a mouthpiece for the BNP. If you repeat yourself on the matter again, I’ll take my statement as true.

    You are, again, telling people to hurt themselves for no gain. Typical Tory.
    Crack that whip, hurt those poor!

  32. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – If you expect anyone reading this blog to believe you didn’t vote for New Labour at the last election you’re reaching.

    You can take anything you say as true if you wish – next you’ll be telling everyone cutting 10p tax didn’t hurt the poor. You cracked that whip and hurt the poor, you have form here.

    Labour rewarded the bankers and big business like no other government before them, their Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman is landed gentry of the old type and Ed Miliband, the tax avoiding property millionaire, hasn’t done a single days work in his life – hardly in keeping with the traditions of the working classes.

    Finally please explain why stopping giving money to the Murdoch’s would hurt anyone but them?

    It’s just an excuse and everyone knows it – pressure worked on the NOTW so why not this?

    It’s called integrity and principal Leon Wolfson. Not that I’d expect to see anything of the sort from a New Labour lickspittle who voted Gordon Brown like you did. You voted for him – he was New Labour.

    The facts speak for themselves…

  33. Leon Wolfson

    Ah right, so the BNP man is whining because I won’t stop disagreeing with his nonsense, or keep on posting those pesky facts.

    Of course the Tories didn’t push for even more deregulation of the banks.
    Of course the Bank crisis was restricted to this country.
    Of course when you hurt the poor, it’s not bad.
    Of course principle and integrity mean exactly what you say they are.

    We can’t be having no facts around Griffin’s boys.

    Your kind have twice failed to kill me in ambushes, and I’m sure you’re up for the third. I’ll be making sure I keep to the major roads, and a screamer in the pocket.

  34. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – Excuses from the New Labour lacky. Here are the pesky facts.

    FACT 1. The banks were deregulated by New Labour. (The Tories weren’t in power).
    FACT 2. The structural deficit of this country was only created in this country by New Labour with Gordon Brown claiming he’d ended “Boom And Bust” and ran a deficit since 2003 and PFI money wasting.
    FACT 3. How could I hurt the poor? The 10p Tax removal was done by Labour. Have you never heard of John Cruddas?

    If I claimed to dislike Murdoch I wouldn’t support him. All you are doing is excusing inaction. (Again).

    I have no idea what on earth you’re on about in your last paragraph but may I suggest you see a doctor ASAP and try to avoid being “ambushed”.

    This is the United Kingdom Leon Wolfson not some plot from a Hollywood movie. Grow up…

  35. Leon Wolfson

    Excuses from the guy who thinks stomping faces is cute.

    FACT1: The Tories argued for LESS regulation. Which would of made things worse.
    FACT2: Before the financial crisis, the UK was in a shitload better state than Major left it.
    FACT 3: Yes, you. The 10p tax removal was a minor blip compared to what the Tories have already done, and that’s a fraction of what they’re yet to do.

    This is reality, not your daydreams. Not that you’ll read my post, as usual. Oh, and I’m perfectly healthy. There’s nothing which can be done for you though, political stupidity isn’t treatable.

  36. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – The New Labour lickspittle is back lying in public forums. I’m never violent. Ever. Don’t believe in it. You however are clearly delusional. Why would the BNP attack a white man? See a doctor now I say.

    FACT 1 – Labour with it’s massive commons majority brought in the deregulation. You don’t know if the Tories would have made it worse because it never happened.
    FACT 2 – The UK ran the largest deficit under the LABOUR government in this country’s history. The worst chancellor in British history sold the gold off at a historic low, his golden rules were a crock and he took the 10p tax from the poorest in society whilst rewarding the rich by doubling Inheritance Tax.
    FACT 3 – A minor blip which made the poorest people in this country poorer – ask the poor if it was a minor blip as Brown was “relaxed” to see the rich get filthy rich.

    That is reality and from your silly nonsense about ambushes it is clear you need help. I don’t know what a “screamer” in your pocket is but at least no one reading this will have to worry about the health of your wife since it is unlikely you’re married.

    Watch for the monsters in the shadows Leon Wolfson….

    THEY’RE BEHIND YOU WOLFY!!! MWUHAHAHA!!!

  37. Leon Wolfson

    Yes, very funny. Let me restate, your type have in fact attacked me twice in the street. I’m sure you’d find a third attempt utterly hilarious. That kind of thuggery is entirely typical.

    Fact 1 – They called for it. You can talk out your ass all you like, the fact remains is that was Tory policy.

    Fact 2 – Only because of the bank crash. See 1.

    Fact 3 – No, in fact it didn’t did it? Because he changed the rules to ensure it didn’t. No, the 10p tax abolition – ignoring the fact that (and it was a mistake) he brought it in in the first place – is also a VERY MINOR blip compared to the repeated major cuts which the Tories are inflicting on the poor. It’s pure and utter propaganda of the self-serving sort to try and paint some kind of picture as anything but your utter hatred of the poor and disabled. Want to murder them all too, like all the non-whities?

    I’m quite sure you want to “help” me with a lead pipe. It’s been tried. And of course you have no idea about personal alarms, it’s too sophisticated for your kind of thug.

  38. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – The New Labour suckass resorts to Strawman. How typical. Next you’ll be saying there are WMD in Iraq and smearing David Kelly.

    Oh so now you were attacked eh instead of being “ambushed”? And despite not knowing what colour I am you previously claimed to be white yourself.

    Why would the BNP attack a white man? Are you sure you hadn’t been smoking something Leon Wolfson?

    What did the police say when you reported this “ambush” or was your “mission” so secret you couldn’t divulge the assault?

    FACT 1 – The tories were in opposition – end of. You’re wrong. And are you now saying the Labour Party with a huge commons majority was so weak it couldn’t form it’s own economic policy? Spin spin and spin again. Labour, the party of big business, was the government that rewarded the bankers and crushed the poor.

    FACT 2 – I haven’t mentioned the bank crash only the structural deficit which increased massively under the Labour government with it’s PFI and other money wasting schemes to reward the “boys”.

    FACT 3 – Brown had to revise his policy because of pressure from real Labour MP’s and the house but since he was going the increase NI with his “Jobs Tax” it was going to be cancelled out. So far this coalition has not even started the cuts. It’s all hype and waffle from the New Labour fanboys like yourself who voted for Gordon Brown.

    FACT 4 – The level of inequality, the gap between the rich and poor went up in this country under Labour or are you now rewriting history over that as well?

    I have explained before I am not a violent man and I think this must be all part of your delusion. Anyone who can vote for New Labour then claim that they don’t support the very party they voted for certainly has issues.

    Anyway take care Leon Wolfson and remember not to step on the cracks in the paving slabs….

    THEY’RE BEHIND YOU WOLFY!!! MWUHAHAHA!!! Couldn’t resist that. Sorry. hehehehe

  39. Leon Wolfson

    Of course you can’t resist, BNP activists rarely can hold back from spouting threats. I’m Jewish, Mr. Mouse. And the police successfully prosecuted the offenders both times, of course.

    Fact 1 – So, you’re saying that what a party says when it’s in opposition has no bearing on anything, and they’re free to change what they like when they come to power, including re-writing history?

    Oh wait, stupid question, of course you’re saying that. Back in the real world, the Tories did indeed call for even less regulation.

    Fact 2 – Of course you’re trying to avoid talking about the fact that the bank crash meant spending had to be vastly increased, given the Tory policy which would have required even more spending in the same situation.

    Fact 3 – And so? It was revised. Even if it had gone ahead, again, it’s a blip compared to the current Tory policy. Only a petty and vengeful individual would focus on one incident which had minimal rather than the actual, massive cuts going on.

    The cuts are well under way, are their front-loaded nature means proper accommodation can’t be made for them without mass job losses. There are better ways to handle cuts even of this nature, like back-loading them to ensure natural wastage handles as many job cuts as possible, and has a far lesser impact, but we can’t have that now can we, gotta HULK SMASH the economy. Petty, vengeful and spiteful, for that matter.

    Fact 4 – You assume I like Labour. No, I do not, except Tom Watson MP. However, they are less bad than the Tories. Also, there was massive progress made on Child Poverty, which is now systematically being rolled back by the Tories.

    Go you, got any more bile to spit at civilised humans?

  40. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – What threat? And how on earth would anyone know what your religion was?

    You are back to calling black white again I see.

    FACT 1 – All you’re doing is spinning and lying. It was on Labour’s watch and they did it and no matter how much you waffle on with speculation. I suppose it was the Tories who knighted Fred Goodwin was it?

    FACT 2 – The banks crashed in September 2008 – I have only mentioned 2003 and 2007. You’re lying again.

    FACT 3 – You can call hitting the poorest in our society a “blip” all you want but to me it sets the tone of Labour LABOUR hurting the poor.

    Leon Wolfson for a man who claims to dislike Labour it may have been more helpful if you hadn’t voted for Gordon Brown. Which you did so save the rank hypocrisy for other Walter Mitty’s who might believe you and your fantastic stories and tall tales of “ambushes”.

    What did the police say about it Wolfster or did the secret services need to keep you employed and refused to allow you to be interviewed?

    And by the way, whilst Labour took away the 10p tax rate from the poorest in society this government has reduced their contributions to £zero. Says everything really…

  41. andrew smart

    Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now: //bit.ly/qBzNcc – #hackgate latest from @ShamikDas

  42. Leon Wolfson

    The threats you’ve made, fascist. Here and elsewhere.

  43. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – I don’t threaten anyone – never have.

    You’re just upset because I don’t believe your stupid “ambush” MI5 Secret Agent nonsense or that the Incredible Hulk is real. Grow up.

  44. Gael

    Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now: //bit.ly/qBzNcc – #hackgate latest from @ShamikDas

  45. Things will only get worse for the police as May’s cuts begin to bite | Left Foot Forward

    […] from the resignations of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and Assistant Commissioner John Yates, and mired in the swamp of revelations surrounding phone […]

  46. New Met chief will need all Johann Cruyff’s fancy footwork to survive | Left Foot Forward

    […] an equally tough-talking Lancastrian, who nevertheless survived just two years in post before resigning in ignominy back in July amidst the fallout from the Met’s inept handling of the phone-hacking […]

  47. Boris: questions on NewsCorp sponsorship are "fucking bollocks" (VIDEO) | Political Scrapbook

    […] this explains Johnson’s flippancy over phone hacking. Left Foot Forward have a full run-down of Boris’ quotes on phone hacking, which include:“I think it looks like a politically […]

  48. Boris and Murdoch: The ten questions the Mayor still hasn’t answered | Left Foot Forward

    […] Yates and Stephenson resign; Boris and Cameron remain – for now 18 Jul […]

Leave a Reply