Warning over Boris Johnson phone hacking denial

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The Independent Online

Boris Johnson would have been attempting to pervert the course of justice if he knew police were actively investigating phone hacking when he described fresh allegations as "codswallop", it was claimed today.

The London Mayor's deputy for policing, Kit Malthouse, was informed on September 10, 2010 that Scotland Yard detectives were looking into claims made in a New York Times article.



Five days later Mr Johnson publicly dismissed questions about the new hacking allegations as "a load of codswallop cooked up by the Labour Party" at Mayor's Question Time.



Members of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), which oversees Scotland Yard's work, today quizzed Mr Malthouse on whether he discussed the fact that police were investigating the New York Times claims with Mr Johnson between September 10 and 15.



Mr Malthouse, chairman of the MPA, replied: "It think it is probably unlikely that we did but I cannot recall precisely."



Green Party MPA member Jenny Jones suggested that the mayor must have known there was an active police investigation when he made his "codswallop" comments.



She told the meeting at London's City Hall: "If he did know, he was attempting to pervert the course of justice."



Asked about Mr Johnson's choice of words, Mr Malthouse said: "The mayor is a personality who likes to express himself in particular ways."









Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin, who took over running Scotland Yard on Monday after Sir Paul Stephenson resigned as Commissioner, declined to comment on the Mayor's words.



Mr Malthouse confirmed today that former Met assistant commissioner John Yates briefed him on September 10 last year that police were considering whether there was any new evidence in the New York Times report and that a team of officers might fly to the US to conduct interviews.



Asked about phone hacking at Mayor's Question Time five days later, Mr Johnson said: "I am almost in continuous conversations with my deputy mayor for policing (Mr Malthouse) about this and other matters.



"It would be fair to say that he and I have discussed this. The conclusion of our conversation would be obvious from what I have said.



"In other words, this is a load of codswallop cooked up by the Labour Party and that we do not intend to get involved with it."



PA