John Yates, the head of Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism operation has resigned amid ongoing criticism of the Met’s handling of the phone-hacking scandal.
The resignation of Assistant Commissioner Yates follows yesterday’s departure of Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson who resigned after criticism over the Met’s hiring of former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis as a media consultant.
Yates announced his resignation after the Metropolitan Police Authority’s professional Standards Cases Sub-committee announced its decision to suspend him following “lengthy and careful deliberations”.
The committee issued a statement confirming that “a number of matters have been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, including one involving Assistant Commissioner Yates.”
After the committee’s decision was released, Mr Yates issued a statement in which he said publication of “a huge amount of inaccurate, ill-informed and on occasion downright malicious gossip” threatened to become “a significant distraction in my current role as the national lead for Counter Terrorism.”
Mr Yates had previously rebuffed calls to resign over the refusal to re-open the Met’s first inquiry into phone hacking by News International.
In his statement Mr Yates said: “It is a matter of great personal frustration that despite my efforts, on a number of occasions, to explain the true facts surrounding my role in these matters since 2009, there remains confusion about what exactly took place.”
Ahead of the MPA’s meeting Yates had faced calls to resign from London Assembly Members Brian Coleman and Jenny Jones.
Conservative AM Mr Coleman, who is also chair of the capital’s fire authority, said: “Sir Paul has set the example to follow. Until Yates has resigned and left Scotland Yard for the last time, the Metropolitan Police cannot hope to move on and restore confidence.”
Ms Jones, who represents the Green party on the London Assembly and MPA, said it would have been “very difficult for him to move on in the Met” had he refused refused to quit.
Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Dee Doocey said Yates’s decision to resign “is long overdue.”
Baroness Doocey added: “John Yates has done some superb work for the Met, however by his own admission he spent just 8 hours reviewing 11,000 pages of evidence within which were buried details of the most heinous crimes.
“Literally hundreds of victims of phone hacking were failed and his resignation is long overdue. He made a monumental error of judgment which rendered his position untenable.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson held a rare City Hall press conference to respond to the growing crisis engulfing the Met.
The Mayor denied suggestions that there had been “a failure of political leadership” and both he and MPA Chair Kit Malthouse dismissed suggestions they should consider their own positions.
Johnson told journalists: “Now is the time to get to the bottom of all these questions and give a new commissioner plenty of time to get his or her feet under the desk, build on the outstanding work of these two men and make London ever safer in the run-up to the Olympic Games.”