It has been announced that Parliament is to be “recalled” on the first day of its summer recess to debate the rapidly changing situation over the News of the World phone hacking scandal. Parliament was due to be on recess from Wednesday, but MPs will instead be in the Commons debating this subject of great national importance.
The wider impact of this continually unfolding story cannot yet be assessed, indeed it is likely that it will be many months before the full ramifications of this disgraceful situation will be known, the results of which will be felt for years to come. There is little doubt that following these revelations, that continue to come, that the political landscape will change in the UK forever. There will be ramifications for the press and press freedom, for MPs both present and future and for the police both present and future.
Each new development that comes brings with it more concern and more questions. Two senior Metropolitan Police Officers have resigned over the scandal, the latest being Paul Yates who was Assistant Commissioner with responsibility for counter-terrorism policing. Reports suggest that he faced investigation into the employment by the Metropolitan Police Service of Neil Wallis. Mr Wallis was last week arrested as part of operation Weeting, the latest investigation into phone hacking. Mr Yates checked the credentials of Mr Wallis prior to the Met employing him.
Mr Yates had decided in 2009 that no further investigation was required after fresh revelations by the Guardian Newspaper suggested that more was to be uncovered in relation to phone hacking following the police investigation in 2005 and 2006 that resulted in the convictions of Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire.
Mr Yates said that his resignation was with “deep regret” and that his “conscience is clear’”. His resignation follows that of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, Sir Paul Stevenson who resigned yesterday. Sir Paul said that questions around his integrity would be detramanetal to the Met as a whole. It was announced that Tim Goodwin would take on the role of Acting Commissioner and that Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick would take on Mr Yates role.