No.10 communication with Yates in full
During a select committee hearing today, Met police assistant commissioner John Yates said that David Cameron's chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn, had rejected attempts by the Met to discuss phone-hacking, including the employment of Neil Wallis. Not long afterwards DOwning Street released the following email exchange:
1.) Find below the email exchange between John Yates and the PM's Chief of Staff Ed Llewellyn, as referred to by John Yates in his Select Committee appearance this afternoon. Ed Llewellyn's reply was discussed and agreed with the Permanent Secretary at No10.
10 September 2010: John Yates to Ed Llewellyn
Hope all well.
I am coming over to see the PM at 12.30 today regarding [redacted: national security] matters. I am very happy to have a conversation in the margins around the other matters that have caught my attention this week if you thought it would be useful.
10 September 2010: Ed Llewellyn to John Yates
Thanks – all well.
On the other matters that have caught your attention this week, assuming we are thinking of the same thing, I am sure you will understand that we will want to be able to be entirely clear, for your sake and ours, that we have not been in contact with you about this subject.
So I don't think it would really be appropriate for the PM, or anyone else at No 10, to discuss this issue with you, and would be grateful if it were not raised please.
But the PM looks forward to seeing you, with Peter Ricketts and Jonathan Evans, purely on [redacted: national security] matters at 1230.
With best wishes,
2.) The explanation provided by John Yates as stated to the Select Committee:
Keith Vaz MP – …something raised by Sir Paul about his non disclosure to the Prime Minister about the contract that Mr Wallis had and you referred to an official at Number 10 saying to you or you saying to the official that the PM should be protected from such information… is there such an official… if there is who is this official… who wanted to keep all this information away from the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary who was trying to protect the Prime Minister?
John Yates – …officials will always try and protect their principals… there are very rare occasions, very rare occasions… when the Prime Minister would be briefed on operational matters… it would be issues of national security and counter terrorism…
KV – was there a decision not to tell him about Mr Wallis?
JY: …there was an offer in the early part of September 2010 for me to put into context some of the nuances around police language… like what scoping is, what an assessment is ..
KV … an offer to whom?
JY … an offer to a senior official… that should that be desirable, i would be prepared to do that…
KV – who was the official?
JY… the chief of staff….
KV… Ed Llewellyn … You offered to brief him fully on these issues?
JY: No, no, no. I did not say that.
KV: Please tell me.
JY…I offered to brief on the nuances of what a scoping was… it was the New York Times issue and people would say you are launching an investigation …. but it was not well understood, as the word review is not understood about these nuances … it was simply an offer to explain what scoping meant what it could lead to…
KV… and what happened to that offer?
JY …the offer was properly and understandably rejected…
KV… no question of not telling the PM for operational matters about Mr Wallis?
JY…. I wouldn’t have disclosed operational matters on this … it would have been a very rare occasion … that the pm would be briefed on operational matters… something catastrophic like national security or something of huge, huge issue of concern . … and it simply wasn’t at that stage… it was simply to explain, an offer to explain… police protocol…
Bridget Phillipson MP…. The offer to the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff about the offer that you talked about was there any reason given for declining?
JY- … It was a very brief email exchange… and… Ed for whatever reason – and I completely understand it, didn’t think it was appropriate for him, the Prime Minister or anyone else in Number Ten to discuss this issue with you, and would be grateful if it wasn’t raised….
…It was very simple… and I can understand it in some sense.
3.) The statement issued by Sir Paul Stephenson following his Select Committee appearance:
“There was never any discussion with No 10 about Neil Wallis. What the Commissioner said is that he would never wish to inadvertently place the Prime Minister in a position where anyone could accuse him of being compromised by providing operational information about anyone in the investigation. This was an entirely sensible approach and was in accord with advice previously received from a Number 10 official, as John Yates has subsequently confirmed.”