David Cameron: full statement on phone-hacking crisis

David Cameron: full statement on phone-hacking crisis



David Cameron says he is “extremely sorry” for the furore his appointment of Andy Coulson has caused during the phone-hacking scandal.

over the past two weeks a torrent of revelations and allegations has engulfed some of this country's most important institutions in has shaken people's trust in the media and the nogales what they do in the police and their ability to investigate media malpractice and yes in politics and in politicians ability to get to grips with these issues people desperately want us to put a stop to the illegal practices to ensure the independence and effectiveness of the police and to establish a more healthy relationship between politicians and media owners above all they want us to act on behalf of the victims people who have suffered dreadfully including through murder and terrorism and who have had to relive that agony all over again because of phone hacking the public want us to work together to sort this problem out because until we do so it will not be possible to get back to the issues they care about even more getting our economy moving creating jobs helping with the cost of living protecting us from terrorism and restoring fairness to our welfare and immigration systems so let me set out the action that we have taken we now have a well led police investigation which would examine criminal behavior by the media and corruption in the police we have set up a wide-ranging and independent judicial inquiry under lord justice leveson to establish what went wrong why and what we need to do to ensure it never happens again I'm the first prime minister to publish meetings with media editors proprietors senior executive to bring complete transparency to the relationship between government ministers and the media stretching right back to the general election and the House of Commons by speaking so clearly about its revulsion at the phone hacking allegations helped to cause the end of the news core bid for the rest of BSkyB today today I would like to update the house on the action that we are taking first on the makeup and remix of the public inquiry second on issues concerning the police service and third i will answer I'm afraid mr. speaker at some length all of the key questions that have been raised about my role and that of my staff so first first the judicial inquiry and the panel of experts who will assist it those experts will be the Civil Liberties campaigner and director of Liberty shammy chakrabarti the former Chief Constable of the West Midlands support Scott Lee the former chairman of Ofcom Lord David curry the long-serving former political editor of Channel 4 News Helena Goodman the former political editor of The Daily Telegraph and form a special correspondent of the Press Association George Jones and the former chairman of the Financial Times sir david belle these people have been chosen not only for their expertise in the media broadcasting regulation and policing but for their complete independence from the interested party Mr Speaker I also said last week that the inquiry will proceed in two parts and I set out a draft terms of reference we've consulted with lord justice leveson with the opposition with chairs of relevant select committees and the devolved administration's i also talked to the family of milly dowler and the hacked off campaign we have made some significant amendments to the remit of the inquiry with allegations that the problem of the relationship between the press and the police goes wider than just the met we have agreed that other relevant forces will now be within the scope of the inquiry we have agreed that the inquiry should consider not just the relationship between the press police and politicians but their individual conduct too and we've also made clear that the inquiry should look not just the press but other media organizations including broadcasters and social media if there is any evidence that they've been involved in criminal activities I'm today placing in the library of the house the final terms of reference lord Justice Leveson and the panel will get to work immediately he will aim to make a report on the first part of the inquiry within 12 months mr. speaker there should be no doubt this public inquiry is as robust as possible it is fully independent and lord justice leveson will be able to summon witnesses under oath mr. speaker let me now turn to the extraordinary events we have seen over the past few days at Britain's largest police force the Met on Sunday supposed Stevenson resigned as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police I want to thank him for the work he's carried out in policing over many many years in London and elsewhere on Monday Assistant Commissioner John Yates also resigned and again I want to express my gratitude for the work he has done especially in improving our response to terrorism given the sudden departure of two such senior officers the first concern must be to ensure the effective policing of our capital and confidence in that policing is maintained I've asked the Home Secretary and Mayor of London to insure that the responsibilities of the Met will continue seamlessly the current deputy commissioner Tim Godwin who stood in for Paul Stevenson when he was ill and did a good job will shortly do so again the vital counterterrorism job carried out by John Yates will be taken on by the highly experienced press at a dick the responsibilities of the Deputy Commissioner which the house will remember includes general oversight of the vital investigations both into hacking and into the police operations Weeting and L burden will not be done by someone from inside the met but instead by Bernard hogan-howe who will join temporarily from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary we are also looking to speed up the process for selecting and appointing the next Commissioner but Mr Speaker we cannot hope that a change in personnel at the top of the Met is enough the simple fact is that the whole affair raises huge issues about the ethics and practices of our police let me state plainly the vast majority of our police officers are beyond reproach and serve the public with distinction but police corruption must be rooted out operation l burden and lord justice leveson inquiry are charged with doing just that but I believe we can and must do more but simply there are two problems first a perception that when problems arise it is still the police investigating the police and second a lack of transparency in terms of police contacts with the media we are acting on both these were precisely the two points that my right honourable friend the home secretary addressed in her statement to this house on Monday we believe this crisis calls for us to stand back and take another broader look at the whole culture of policing in this country including the way it is led at the moment the police system is too closed there is only one point of entry into the force there are too few and arguably too similar candidates for the top jobs as everyone knows Tom Winsor is looking into police careers and I want to see radical proposals for how we can open up our police force and bring in fresh leadership the government is introducing elected police and crime commissioners ensuring there's an individual holding our local and we need to see we need to see if we can extend that openness to the operational side too why should all police officers have to start at the same level why shouldn't someone with a different skill set be able to join the police force in a senior role why shouldn't someone who's been a proven success overseas be able to help us turn around a force here at home I believe these are questions we should ask to get the greater transparency and the stronger corporate governance that we need in Britain's policing finally let me turn to these specific questions that I've been asked in recent days first it has been suggested that my chief of staff was behaving wrongly when he didn't take up then assistant commissioners Yates offer to be briefed on police investigations around phone hacking I've said repeatedly about the police investigation that they should pursue the evidence wherever it leads and arrest exactly who they wish and that is exactly what they have done number 10 has now published the full email exchange between my chief of staff and John Yates and it shows my staff behaved entirely properly ed ed llewellyn's reply to the police made clear that it would not be appropriate to give me or my staff any privileged briefing the reply what the / apply that he sent the reply that he sent was cleared in advance by my permanent secretary jeremy heywood just imagine just imagine mr. speaker if they had done the opposite if they had asked for or acquiesced in receiving privileged information even if there was no intention to use it there would have been quite justified outrage to risk to risk any perception that number 10 was seeking to influence a sensitive police investigation in any way would have been completely wrong mr. Yates and support both backed this judgement in their evidence yesterday indeed as John Yates said and I quote the offer was properly and understandably rejected the cabinet secretary and the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee have both now backed that judgment to next there is the question as to whether the ministerial code was broken in relation to the BSkyB merger and meetings with news international executives the cabinet secretary has ruled very clearly that the code was not broken not least because I'd ask to be entirely excluded from the decision next next I would like to set the record straight on another question that arose yesterday whether the Conservative Party had also employed Neal Wallace the Conservative Party Chairman has ensured that all the accounts have been gone through and has confirmed to me that neither Neal Wallace nor his company has ever been employed by or contracted by the conservative party nor has the Conservative Party made payments to either of them it has been drawn to our attention it had been drawn think it has been drawn to our attention that he may have provided andy coulson with some informal advice on a voluntary basis before the election to the best of my knowledge i did not know anything about this until sunday night but as with revealing this information we will be entirely transparent about this issue finally finally mr. speaker there is the question whether everyone the media the police politicians is taking responsibility in an appropriate manner I want to address my own responsibilities very directly and that brings me to my decision to employ Andy Coulson I have said very clearly that if it turns out Andy Coulson knew about the hacking at the news of the world he will not only have lied to me but he would have lied to the police to a select committee to the Press Complaints Commission and of course perjured himself in a court of law more to the point if that comes to the pass he could also expect to face severe criminal charges I have an old-fashioned view about innocent until proven guilty but if it turns out I've been lied to that would be a moment for a profound apology and in that event I can tell you I will not fall short my responsibilities are for hiring him and for the work he did in Downing Street on the work he did I will repeat perhaps not for the last time that his work at Downing Street has not been the subject of any serious complaint and of course he left months ago on the decision to hire him I believe I've answered every question about this it was my decision hold on it was my decision I take responsibility people will of course all joys for interrupting the prime minister the house must come to order and here in silence the remainder of the statement the Prime Minister people will of course make judgments about it of course I regret and I am extremely sorry about the Ferrari it has caused with twenty-twenty hindsight and all that has followed I would not have offered him the job and I expect that he wouldn't have taken it but you don't make decisions in hindsight you make them in the present you live and you learn and believe you me i have learnt now i look forward to answering any and all questions about these issues and following the statement i will open the debate but the greatest responsibility i have is to clear up this mess so let me finish by saying this there are accusations of criminal behavior by parts of the press and potentially the police where the most rapid and decisive action is required there are issues of excessive closest to media groups and media owners we're both labor and conservative have to make a fresh start there is the history of mist warnings select committee reports information commissioner reports missed by the last government but yes missed by the official opposition to what the public expects is not petty political point-scoring what they want what they deserve is concerted action to rise to the level of events and pledge to work together to sort this issue out once and for all and it is in that spirit that I commend this statement to the house

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