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Sir Paul Stephenson
Sir Paul Stephenson
Image: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Phone hacking: UK police chief Sir Paul Stephenson resigns

The hacking scandal has led to another resignation, the most senior yet.
Jul 17th 2011, 8:26 PM 1,565 12

THE COMMISSIONER OF the Metropolitan Police, Sir Paul Stephenson, has resigned this evening. It is the latest resignation in the UK’s growing scandal over phone hacking.

Sir Paul, the most senior police officer in the country, denied any wrongdoing. He had been criticised for hiring Neil Wallis, a former News of the World executive editor who was arrested last week in the scandal, as a part-time PR consultant for a year until September 2010.

It also emerged that whilst Stephenson was recuperating from a serious illness, he had spent time at a health farm which Wallis had been working for. Sir Paul did not pay for his stay at the Champneys health farm, reports the Telegraph.

But Sir Paul said he did not make the decision to hire Wallis, and had no knowledge of Wallis’s links to phone hacking: “I will not lose any sleep over my personal integrity,” he said.

More generally he and his colleagues at Scotland Yard had been criticised for the Met’s handling of the phone hacking investigation.

According to BBC News, Sir Paul said he had taken the decision as a consequence of the “ongoing speculation and accusations relating to the Met’s links with News International at a senior level and in particular in relation to Mr Neil Wallis.”

The 58-year-old is due to answer questions from MPs when he appears before the House of Commons Home Affairs select committee on Tuesday, the same day that Rupert and James Murdoch as well as former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks are due to appear before the select committee on culture, media and sport.

- additional reporting from AP

Earlier: Rebekah Brooks arrested in phone hacking probe >

Read: Meet the Murdochs >

Read: Hacking scandal timeline >

Read all our hacking scandal coverage >

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Hugh O'Connell

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