Earlier today, I reported that Mayor Boris Johnson thought that continuing concerns about the News of the World’s phone-hacking antics were “codswallop”.
Late this afternoon Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse AM, the Mayor’s surrogate on policing matters issued a statement, saying slightly strangely:
“This morning I had discussions with the Commissioner about the ongoing investigation into whether officers were paid by the News of the World for information. The Commissioner has assured me that at this time he has not seen any evidence requiring referral to the MPA in respect of any senior officer.”
All this tells us is that there is that there is nothing to suggest so far that any officer of Commander rank or above needs to be considered for disciplinary action because they have received payments from News International – denying something that has not as yet been alleged.
Then this evening comes this statement from the Mayor’s office:
“It is unbelievable that victims of some of the most odious crimes in recent years might have had their suffering prolonged and intensified by such blatant intrusion into their lives. If true, it suggests there was no limit to the callousness of the journalists and private investigators involved. And if some police officers were indeed paid as part of this process, there is only one word for this, corruption. It doesn’t matter that this happened many years ago, under a different commissioner and indeed mayoralty. Even if only a small number of people were implicated, these allegations have to be taken extremely seriously and investigated ruthlessly and openly. I have talked to the commissioner this afternoon and he’s equally determined to clear up any doubts on this issue. I’ve also made it clear to him that for the sake of public confidence this investigation needs independent oversight and the IPCC should play a full role.”
So suddenly, it is no longer “codswallop”.
As Adam Bienkov puts it so succinctly:
“Boris Johnson is terribly concerned about wrongdoing at News of the World and takes the whole scandal “extremely seriously.”This evening he described the allegations as “blatant intrusion,” “callousness,” “corruption” and said that:“Even if only a small number of people were implicated, these allegations have to be taken extremely seriously and investigated ruthlessly and openly.”Yes Boris takes it all extremely seriously. In fact so seriously that just three months ago he joked that celebrities actually wanted their phones hacked.And so seriously that last year he told the London Assembly the phone hacking saga was…
- “a load of codswallop cooked up by the Labour Party” which was
- “patently politically motivated” and
- “a politically motivated put up job” and
- “completely spurious and political” and
- “a song and dance about nothing” which had been
- “whipped up by the Guardian and the Labour Party.”No doubt he’ll instruct the Metropolitan Police to take their investigations extremely seriously indeed.”