Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation statement contains three paragraphs that hand
plenty of political ammunition to Labour:
"Now let me turn to the reported displeasure of the prime minister and the home secretary of the relationship with Mr Wallis.
The reasons for not having told them are two fold. Firstly, I repeat my earlier comments of having at the time no reason for considering the contractual relationship to be a matter of concern.
Unlike Mr Coulson, Mr Wallis had not resigned from News of the World or, to the best of my knowledge been in any way associated with the original phone hacking investigation.
"Secondly, once Mr Wallis’s name did become associated with Operation Weeting, I did not want to compromise the Prime Minister in any way by revealing or discussing a potential suspect
who clearly had a close relationship with Mr Coulson. I am aware of the many political exchanges in relation to Mr Coulson’s previous employment — I believe it would have been
extraordinarily clumsy of me to have exposed the Prime Minister, or by association the Home Secretary, to any accusation, however unfair, as a consequence of them being in possession of
operational information in this regard.”
Yvette Cooper has already done a tour of the TV studio using this passage to make two political attacks on the Prime Minister. First, highlighting how Stephenson felt he couldn’t give Cameron
a full update on the matter because of Cameron’s relationship with Coulson. Second, saying that if Stephenson has resigned because of his decision to hire a senior figure at the News of the
World, then what about Cameron’s decision to employ the editor who resigned over phone hacking.
PS: And here’s the record-breaking (the headline is printed in 164 point) front page of this morning’s Times: