Accusations of City Hall interference with the Met’s hacking investigations mean Boris Johnson should appear before the Leveson inquiry, a former met officer has said.
Brian Paddick, who is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor on May’s elections and a former senior Met officer, says the Mayor must “explain what political pressure was put on the police and why.”
Mr Paddick’s comments follow accusations by two senior Met witnesses that Deputy Mayor for Policing Kit Malthouse attempted to scale down the Met’s operation.
Earlier this month former Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson claimed: “On several occasions after Operation Weeting had started and I had returned from sick leave, the Chair of the MPA, Kit Malthouse, expressed a view that we should not be devoting this level of resources to the phone hacking inquiry as a consequence of a largely political and media- driven “level of hysteria”.
Last week Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick said: On a couple of occasions, Mr Malthouse, I thought jokingly, said to me: “I hope you’re not putting too many resources into this, Cressida”, and on the third occasion, when he said it again, I said, “Well, that’s my decision and not yours, and that’s why I’m operationally independent”, and we then went on to have a perfectly reasonable sort of conversation about where the public interest lay, which, of course, is an entirely thing for him to want to discuss with me.
“But I felt that I wanted to put down a marker, mainly because I didn’t want to compromise him. I think if it was ever felt outside that we had or hadn’t put this resource or that resource or arrested this person or that person because a politician, to whom I am accountable but nevertheless of a particular political party, in such a charged investigation had put pressure on, that would compromise him and us and our investigation.”
Mr Malthouse has denied trying to derail or scale down the investigation.
A spokesperson previously told this site: “The job of the Chair of the MPA and now, the Deputy Mayor for Policing, is to question and probe the resource allocation decisions of the Commissioner in order to secure an efficient and effective police force for London.
“It was entirely proper, as Paul Stephenson indicated this morning, for Kit Malthouse to probe the reasoning behind the allocation of resources into the phone hacking inquiry. Mr Malthouse has questioned the allocation of resources by the MPS in any number of areas, including knife crime, rape, murder and gangs. His job is to hold the Commissioner to account.
“The Mayor has made it clear that the phone hacking investigation has to be pursued relentlessly and thoroughly.”
However Mr Paddick has today said “Londoners deserve an explanation that stands up to scrutiny” and suggested “The whole thing has the whiff of an attempted cover up and that won’t go away until we get answers.”
Paddick added: “If Boris Johnson has nothing to hide then he should have no fear of explaining himself to the inquiry. Senior figures from across journalism, politics and the police have appeared before Leveson so there is no reason Boris Johnson should not.”
Mr Malthouse will be appearing before the inquiry later this month when he is expected to further answer the claims against his actions.
A spokesperson for the Mayor said: “If the Mayor was called he’d obviously co-operate, but he has not been asked.”