'Matter closed' as police chief says sorry

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The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair today apologised to Attorney General Lord Goldsmith for recording a private telephone conversation, the minister's office said.

Lord Goldsmith - the Government's senior law officer - was last night said to be "rather cross" and "somewhat disappointed" at the revelation that the conversation about phone-tapping was recorded without his knowledge.

But his office this morning said he had accepted Sir Ian's apology and now regarded the matter as closed.

"The Attorney General and Sir Ian Blair have spoken," said his office in a statement.

"Sir Ian has explained the circumstances in which a telephone conversation between him and the Attorney was recorded without the Attorney's knowledge and has apologised for that.

"The Attorney has accepted Sir Ian's explanation and apology. As far as the Attorney is concerned the matter is closed."

It later emerged that the head of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), Len Duvall, would be having discussions about the issue with other senior police officers at Scotland Yard today.

It is as yet unclear whether Sir Ian has returned from his holiday, but it is understood that Mr Duvall will be speaking to him on the telephone.

"Clearly there are questions that need to be answered," Mr Duvall said today.

"Therefore, I will be having discussions with senior police officers and Sir Ian Blair during the course of the afternoon in order to understand why these calls were recorded in this way.

"I will then be reporting back to members of the authority."

In order for the MPA to hold an emergency meeting, three members of the authority must call for one.