It was only when I had finished this thing, that I thought hmmm, I should have put Icarus in there as well. Still, can't have everything.
Update: I think you're fucked old son, time to pull the the stumps you bent fuck.
Met chief faces questions over spa stay
Sir Paul Stephenson accepted £12,000 freebie while both he and Champneys spa employed ex-NoW deputy editor Neil Wallis more
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Scotland Yard's finest called to account over 'culture of collusion' with the press
Friendship between John Yates and Neil Wallis, once treasured by both men, is at the centre of the hacking firestorm
By Daniel Boffey and Mark Townsend
17 July 2011
John Yates, assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard, knows that the latest man to be arrested over the phone hacking scandal likes to drink ice-cold white wine, preferably chablis. He is aware of Neil Wallis's favourite tipple not because it has come up during questioning or surveillance, but because the former News of the World deputy editor is a close friend, a man he has supped with dozens of times.
Now this 12-year friendship is at the centre of the hacking firestorm and has raised serious doubts over the future career prospects of Yates.
Most significantly, however, the friendship, suggesting a hitherto unrealised closeness between the police and News International, is itself threatening the perceived probity of the Metropolitan police and its commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson.
At 4pm on Thursday, at a time when the Yard was already reeling from criticism of its first inquiry and the Yates review of evidence, the Met's press office felt forced by events to announce a secret which thrust the force even more firmly into the centre of the story.
In an extraordinary twist, it was revealed that Wallis, abruptly awoken at dawn that morning to be arrested, had worked the previous year for Scotland Yard as a PR consultant, at a time when Stephenson and Yates were trying to persuade the Guardian that its coverage of the phone-hacking scandal was exaggerated and unwarranted.
Moreover, the Observer has learned that Stephenson dined with Wallis eight times between 2006 and 2009 – meetings which he formally registered – but also, crucially, met him up to five times privately in the last two years.
Yet neither Yates nor Stephenson told the Guardian last year as they were trying to persuade the paper to drop their campaign that they had Wallis, a NoW executive between 2003 and 2009, in their pay. Nor was it mentioned by Yates when Labour MP David Winnick asked him last Tuesday at the home affairs select committee hearing whether he had met any senior people at NI over the last two years. Yates answered "yes" in exasperation and claimed he had been "absolutely open about that" – but he offered no further clues.
Winnick was, therefore, understandably astonished when the news emerged only three days later that Wallis had not only met Yates over the last two years, but that the former NoW man's Chamy Media (a conjoining of the names of Wallis's children, Charlie and Amy), had received £1,000 a day for his part-time consultancy work for the Met between October 2009 and September 2010.
"The obvious question is why we were not told about this previously," Winnick told the Observer. Another MP added: "We were assured that Yates and Stephenson weren't taking money from the journalists. What we didn't know was that the journalists were taking money from the cops."
Further embarrassing news came on Saturday night. It emerged Stephenson had in January enjoyed a free five-week stay at Champneys health spa in Tring, Herts, courtesy of the managing director Stephen Purdew, a close personal friend. Although Stephenson declared the trip under "gifts and hospitality", what he says he did not know until Saturday night was that Wallis happened to be in charge of the company promoting Champneys.
Stephenson was driving to Hendon Police College in north London for a commendation ceremony when he was ordered to the city hall on Thursday. He rushed through the formalities of the event and arrived shortly afterwards on the South Bank ashen-faced, muttering: "I came as soon as I could." Over 90 minutes, Stephenson reportedly faced a barrage of "robust" language from London mayor Boris Johnson, who was said to be amazed by Wallis's appointment and his ignorance of it. The question raised at city hall and in parliament was how could Yates and Stephenson think this was appropriate?
The answer, say sources, is that they may have been blinded by friendship. "Yates thought Wallis was a fantastic guy and really one of the very best journalists around," said one source. "The strange thing is that Wallis was regarded as a monster by lots of people in the newsrooms he worked in, but Yates had the utmost respect for him."
Wallis met Yates around the time he became editor of the People, a Sunday tabloid, in 1998. Working under Wallis was James Weatherup – the senior NoW journalist arrested in April – and Ian Edmondson, the paper's former head of news arrested earlier in the same month. Both men followed Wallis to the NoW when he went there to be deputy editor in 2003, although Weatherup spent a few intervening years at the Sunday Mirror.
During Wallis's time at the NoW, it broke a series of intriguing stories about the "cash for peerages" investigation into Tony Blair's government, led by Yates, including the claim that detectives believed Downing Street was trying to wreck their probe by leaking evidence. The Yardrefused to comment on whether Yates was the source.
When Wallis left the NoW in 2009 to start a freelance PR firm, the relationship continued. A senior Met source told the Observer: "Wallis met Yates numerous times for drinks and meals and they were not registered." A source added: "They were always very chummy and have continued to be so."
Now, however, both home secretary Theresa May and Johnson have referred the matter of Wallis's employment to Lord Justice Leveson, who is to head the inquiry into phone hacking and the ethics of the press ordered by David Cameron last week.
In his letter, Johnson also suggested the judge should assess whether the UK had a culture of "financial collusion between the press and police". In the coming days this question will continue to be asked.
Witnesses were taken aback by Labour MP Keith Vaz's abrupt and aggressive treatment of Yates at the home affairs select committee inquiry, which he chairs. Vaz read the assistant commissioner his rights in relation to misleading the committee, bawled "order, order" when he felt the officer was wasting time with overlong answers and ultimately concluded, peering over his glasses like a disappointed headteacher, that Yates's evidence was "unconvincing".
There is little in the makeup of Vaz to suggest he will give Stephenson an easier or more civil time when he appears before him . On Friday, Vaz recalled Stephenson, citing his serious concerns that Yates did not mention "the fact they were employing in their press office the [ex-]deputy editor of the newspaper they were investigating".
Former Met assistant commissioner Andy Hayman, who now writes for the Times, was also grilled by the committee and reacted with outrage after being asked if he had accepted payments from journalists: "Good God, absolutely not. I can't believe you suggested that," he said.
Tory MP James Clappison, a member of the committee, said that, while sympathetic to the police, he too had been astonished. "I just want to have a full understanding of what the situation was between the Met and News International."
Yet Stephenson's greatest hurdle may not be the embarrassment of being probed by MPs. The bigger problem on the horizon is the next full meeting of the Metropolitan police authority, the body responsible for scrutinising the work of Scotland Yard, on 28 July.
There is growing talk of a vote of no confidence in the commissioner, a move which would inevitably leave Stephenson little choice but to remove himself from office. And as Scotland Yard struggles to deal with the crisis, its critics, who have long been dissatisfied by the size and inefficiency of the force, may take the opportunity to break it apart.
Richard Barnes, the deputy mayor of London and former deputy chairman of the police authority, said: "What I get incredibly disturbed about is the naivety of the management of the Met. There seems to be no exercise of control and that is supremely disappointing. It's like an endemic process, so they live with it.
"It also raises the question: is the Met too large now? Are there national issues that should be under a separate command and should the Met become a London police service? It has 52,000 people, a £3bn-plus budget. Can it be properly administered, does it need to be looked at? I do think we have to properly examine this." Guardian