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Yard officer's hacking probe offer

One of Scotland Yard's most senior officers has offered to face MPs to "rebut" claims his force conspired with the News of the World to cover up the phone-hacking scandal.

Acting Deputy Commissioner John Yates has written to both the Culture, Media and Sport Committee and Home Affairs Select Committee to say he is prepared to appear before them over allegations he misled Parliament.

Former Labour minister Chris Bryant last week attacked the Met for failing to "join up the dots" of the original inquiry and said senior officers met executives at News Corporation on at least 13 occasions during their investigations.

Mr Bryant alleged that in September last year Mr Yates misled the Home Affairs Select Committee by claiming there were only eight to 12 victims of phone hacking by journalists at the newspaper.

Mr Yates is said to be keen to set the record straight.

A Met police statement said: "On the afternoon of March 15 Acting Deputy Commissioner John Yates has written to the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee offering to appear before them, if they so wish or think it appropriate, to provide the evidence necessary to rebut the allegations that Mr Bryant has made."

Mr Bryant claimed the extent of the phone hacking went beyond the newspaper's royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who were jailed after the first investigation in 2007. The MP alleged that when he raised the issue in the Commons last September, he was threatened by an associate of Rupert Murdoch that his persistence "would not be forgotten".

Mr Bryant, who said he could name at least eight MPs who had been victims of phone hacking, said executives at the News of World met senior officers during the original investigation and when there were calls for it to be reopened.

Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and the newspaper's executive editor Neil Wallis met in September 2006, a month after Mulcaire was arrested along with Goodman, he said.

Senior officers were also invited to private dinners and social engagements on 12 other occasions, including an invitation for Sir Paul to attend News Corporation's summer party, Mr Bryant claimed.


From Belfast Telegraph