Yates faces grilling over phone hacking failures
MPs are to question the police chief who refused to reopen inquiry into News of the World in 2009
Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner John Yates faces a rough ride later this morning when he gives evidence to MPs on the home affairs committee about the phone hacking scandal.
Yates is the senior officer who in 2009 ruled out a fresh inquiry into phone hacking at the News of the World. Officers in charge of the original 2005 investigation, which led to the jailing of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and NotW royal editor Clive Goodman, will also be questioned.
Some MPs suspect Yates's decision not to open an inquiry was fuelled by a desire to maintain good relations between the police and News International, the newspaper's parent company. Yates has said his decision was down to legal advice from prosecutors, the need to channel funds to fighting terrorism and a failure of NotW staff to cooperate.
But Yates has admitted that his performance on phone hacking was "pretty crap" – a statement that has prompted two MPs to call for his resignation.
It is not the first time Yates has faced a parliamentary committee after heading up a high-profile investigation. It was he who led the police probe into the cash-for-honours scandal in 2006 after it emerged that some people who had advanced loans to the Labour party subsequently received peerages.
During the £1.4m investigation, Tony Blair became the first sitting prime minister to be interviewed by police. Despite this, and the arrest of Blair's chief fundraiser and a senior aide, Yates did not in the end bring any charges and was criticised for wasting time and money.
He may struggle to win any sympathy from MPs with long memories this morning, although the home affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz has said Yates should have the opportunity to make his case before any action is taken against him. ·
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