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While Labour are gunning for David Cameron's resignation, and pretending that their involvment in this whole "hackgate" scandal is minimal, I've been re-visiting the Committee hearing of last week, in which top Cops past and present were quizzed by MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Interviewed was former Cop Peter Clarke, who gave a detailed breakdown of what happened in the time he was working at the Yard, and this key quote from him I think backs up what Home secretary Theresa May told the House of Commons today in her statement involving the resignation of Assistant Commissioner John Yates.
She was quick to defend the conduct of David Cameron, after the Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, wife of the shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, made a savaging attack on the Prime minister's judgement on hiring Andy Coulson as his spin-chief before the hacking scandal broke.
May told Cooper that in 2002/3 and 2006, Labour failed to follow up on key bits of evidence in the phone hacking scandal - which must have been seen by the then PM Tony Blair. If it wasn't why not?
And in Peter Clarke's statement last week, he told MPs, led by Keith Vaz, this:
"First, given the wider context of counterterrorist operations against actions that posed an immediate threat to the British public, when set against the criminal course of conduct that involved gross breaches of privacy but no apparent threat of physical harm to the public, I could not justify the huge expenditure of resources this would entail over an inevitably protracted period.
He went on: "Instead, a team of officers were detailed to examine the documents for any further evidence and to identify potential victims where there might be security concerns. The second reason why we decided not to do a full analysis of all the material was that the original objectives of the investigation could be achieved through the following measures. First of all, the high-profile prosecution and imprisonment of a senior journalist from a national newspaper (Clive Goodman?) for these offences. Secondly, collaboration with the mobile phone industry to prevent such invasions of privacy in the future.
Here's the important bit:
"Thirdly, briefings to Government, including the Home Office and Cabinet Office, designed to alert them to this activity and to ensure that national security concerns could be addressed. There was also, of course, at the time liaison with the Information Commissioner’s Office."
So the question begs, what was Tony Blair doing at the time? What did he know about it if he was told?
Perhaps in the judge led inquiry led by Lord Justice Leveson, Mr Blair should return to answer some questions about what he did with this info at the time?
If memory serves me well, this was 2006, and he was still PM, and had announced he would not serve a full term as Labour leader and PM.
Of course, in inquiries, Mr Blair is very selective in his memory, isn't he.
And another question, it's curious that when the ex-News International executive Rebekah Brooks, in 2003 made her controversial comment on the Culture Committee at that time, why did the only Lib Dem on the committee not submit an independent query in or outside parliament.
Since the Committee was packed with Tory and labour MPs, who clearly were cosying up to Murdoch, and would have been tarnished with same brush, clearly, the Lib Dems had nothing to hide from challenging this whole press political cosy relationship of labour and Tories.
Food for thought.
The MPs on the Committee at the time were:
Mr Gerald Kaufman, in the Chair
|Mr Chris Bryant||Rosemary McKenna|
|Mr Frank Doran||Ms Debra Shipley|
|Mr Adrian Flook||John Thurso - Lib Dem|
|Alan Keen||Derek Wyatt|
|Miss Julie Kirkbride|