Another great spot from Adam Bienkov today, who notes that Boris Johnson’s deputy Kit Malthouse has been accused of interfering with the phone hacking investigation. That’s the same Kit Malthouse who yesterday came under fire for using his City Hall office for his outside interests…
Bienkov notes that former MET police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson’s evidence to the Leveson enquiry featured the following statement:
“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”.
Perhaps such a level of interference and attempts to talk down the significange of phone hacking were inevitable – after all Boris himself has a track record of such statements.
Update: Labour MP Chris Bryant has responded to today’s evidence, calling for Malthouse to resign and accusing both Boris Johnson and his deputy of intentionally seeking to close down the phone hacking investigation:
“Today’s revelation at the Leveson Inquiry by the former Met Commissioner about the actions of Boris Johnson’s deputy makes it clear that from the highest political level Johnson and Malthouse have intentionally sought to close down the phone-hacking investigation.
“In 2010 Boris Johnson called phone hacking ‘a load of codswallop cooked up by the Labour Party’ and ‘a song and dance about nothing’. Now we discover his deputy, Kit Malthouse, personally intervened with the Police Commissioner to argue for reduced resources for the inquiry and attacked the story as ‘hysteria’. This amounts to a clear political intervention designed to intimidate the Met into dropping an investigation. Considering that the investigation has thus far uncovered bribery of police officers by the Sun, mass criminality at the News of the World and a deliberate attempt to pervert the course of justice by News International, both Boris Johnson and Kit Malthouse’s interventions show that they are more interested in protecting their cronies than in pursuing justice.
“In any other country this kind of political manipulation would be considered wholly unacceptable and corrupt. It is no longer possible for Londoners to have confidence in the Met with Kit Malthouse sitting at the top table. Kit Malthouse should either resign or Boris Johnson should be forced to sack him.”