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Phone hacking: Key police quotes

19 July 11 16:46

Two senior Metropolitan police officers and the force's head of PR have been questioned by MPs investigating the newspaper phone-hacking scandal.

Among those appearing before MPs was Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, who resigned on Sunday.

Also appearing was Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who quit on Monday over the hiring of former NoW executive editor Neil Wallis, and Dick Fedorcio, director of Public Affairs and Internal Communication for the Metropolitan Police.

Here are some of the key quotes from their testimony before MPs on the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson

Explaining why he told the Guardian newspaper in December 2009 that their coverage of phone-hacking was exaggerated:

"I am the Commissioner of the Met. I have many people assisting me. And I have senior grade chief constables such as Mr Yates.

"Mr Yates... gave me assurances that there was nothing new coming out of the Guardian article. I think I have a right to rely on those assurances and I had no reason at all to doubt the success of the first operation."

On the appointment of Neil Wallis:

"I had no reason to doubt Mr Wallis at all. There was absolutely no reason for me to do that so I can't see how there was a conflict.

"I knew Mr Yates was a friend of Wallis but it wasn't relative to what I was asking him to do and the only reason I asked Mr Yates to do it is because he was now in charge of the business group that originally did the investigation."

Asked whether it was "inappropriate" for either the commissioner or a police constable to have accepted such hospitality worth £12,000 from a firm where Neil Wallis was a consultant:

"In these circumstances I do not think so sir. This was the owner of Champneys, a family friend connection. It was a generous offer. I paid for some, many treatments. It enabled me to get back to work very quickly.

"I do not think it inappropriate in those circumstances. I think it was damnably unlucky frankly that Wallis was connected with this and it was devastating news when I heard."

Assistant Commissioner John Yates

On the appointment of Neil Wallis:

"I did what I considered and it wasn't due diligence in the due diligence sense. I sought assurances off Mr Wallis before the contract was let to the effect and I've got a note - I can read it for you if you like - 'is there anything in the matters that [Guardian journalist] Nick Davies is still chasing, and still reporting on, that could at any stage embarrass you, Mr Wallis, me, the Commissioner and the Metropolitan Police?'

"And I received categorical assurances that was the case. That's not due diligence. Due diligence is in the proper letting of a contract. I had absolutely nothing to do with that, I had nothing to do with the tendering process, that was a matter for Mr Fedorcio."

On the appointment of Neil Wallis's daughter in a post at the Metropolitan Police:

"I was a post box for a CV from Mr Wallis's daughter where I made some notes in an e-mail - again very happy to give the committee the e-mail - which gives a completely equivocal, equivocal interest in whether she gets employment or not.

"I passed on that e-mail and the CV to the head of human resources - HR at the Met. Thereafter I don't know what happened to it."

On deciding not to re-open the phone-hacking investigation in 2009:

"In the light of what I now know, if I had known then what I had known now, and the facts appear that News International have deliberately covered up, I would have made a completely different decision and none of us would be where we are today."

Dick Fedorcio, director of Public Affairs and Internal Communication for Met police

On the appointment of Neil Wallis:

"Having considered him as a consultant and someone that I could take on amongst the other names I had in mind, I spoke to John Yates and advised him of what I was thinking about doing.

"John Yates conducted a form of due diligence on Mr Wallis, and he can explain that to you better than I can later, but as far as I am concerned, Neil Wallis gave John Yates categorical assurances that there was nothing in the previous phone-hacking matters that could that could embarrass him, the commissioner or the Metropolitan Police."

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