Boris's deputy lobbied five times for police to limit hacking inquiry


London's Deputy Mayor is likely to be called by the Leveson Inquiry to explain why he put pressure on two of Scotland Yard's most senior officers to limit the resources being devoted to the phone-hacking inquiry.

For the second week in a row, evidence of Kit Malthouse's attempts to influence police policy was revealed to Lord Justice Leveson. Yesterday Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick said she had been forced to "put down a marker" about the Met's operational independence after Mr Malthouse had lobbied her three times last year about the increasing police manpower being devoted to phone hacking.

The comments from Ms Dick, who took over from John Yates after he resigned over alleged links to a former executive at the News of the World, will increase the already significant political pressure on Mr Malthouse. Last week the former Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson revealed that Mr Malthouse, who is responsible for policing in London, had urged him to scale back the phone-hacking investigation on several occasions.

The shadow Home Office minister Chris Bryant, who has described Mr Malthouse's actions as "political manipulation", repeated his call for the Mayor, Boris Johnson, to sack his deputy. He told The Independent: "The comments today by Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick have definitely weakened Mr Malthouse's position."

Ms Dick told the inquiry that Mr Malthouse spoke to her after Scotland Yard launched its new phone-hacking inquiry in January last year. She said the Deputy Mayor, who chaired the Met Police Authority and continues to head its successor body, the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, had said to her on two occasions: "I hope you're not putting too much resources into this [Operation Weeting], Cressida."

When Mr Malthouse repeated his warning a third time, she reminded him where the authority for the Met's operational strategy resided. "I said: 'That's my decision, not yours, that's why I'm operationally independent'."

Offering Lord Justice Leveson the reasons why she "wanted to put down a marker", Ms Dick said: "I didn't want to compromise him. In such a charged investigation that would have compromised him and us."

Mr Malthouse's office continued to defend his interventions, stating it was "entirely proper" for him to examine the reasoning behind the allocation of resources into the phone-hacking inquiry. His office said it was his job to hold the Met to account.

Operation Weeting and Operation Elveden, which is looking into police corruption, and the investigation into computer hacking, Operation Tuleta, is currently being staffed by almost 170 officers. It is one of the largest investigations ever undertaken by the force.

With witness lists still being finalised for the second module of the Leveson Inquiry, which is examining the relationship between the press and the police, Mr Malthouse is almost certain to have to defend his lobbying.

Yesterday the inquiry also heard from the head of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Sir Denis O'Connor. He said that in 2009, when The Guardian published new details about the News of the World, he thought the revelations "merited some sort of independent review".

He told the inquiry that discussions had taken place with the then Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, and a Home Office minister. "But there was no appetite for HMIC being involved."

Suggested Topics
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action