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'Unconvincing' Met top cop Yates: My phone was hacked

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John Yates, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner, claimed today at a parliamentary hearing into the ongoing phone-tapping allegations against News International publications that his voicemail had been illegally intercepted too.

He told the Home Affairs select committee, chaired by Labour MP Keith Vaz, that he was "99 per cent certain" his phone messages had been hacked into by unknown individuals in 2005-06.

"Who by, I don't know. The records don't exist any more."

Yates admitted that he regretted not re-opening the Met's original investigation into phone-hacking claims in 2009. However, he said he would not be stepping down from his role, despite political pressure urging him to resign.

"I felt the evidence had been followed," he said.

He spent one day in 2009 looking at the initial investigation into phone-hacking, but concluded that there was nothing worth pursuing further.

Yates blamed News International, the sister company of Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp, for failing to provide evidence sooner about whose voicemails had been intercepted.

He said it was "unfair", based on the lack of action by NI, for people to be calling for the assistant commissioner to stand down from his job.

Labour MP Tom Watson, who repeatedly tried over the years to to get a new investigation into phone-hacking allegations at News International underway, said on the BBC's Newsnight programme last night that he felt Yates's position was now "untenable".

At the the conclusion of the assistant commissioner's grilling by MPs today, Vaz told Yates: "Your evidence is unconvincing ... you may be hearing from us again."

Deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers is leading the current Met probe into the hacking scandal, which has already led to the sudden closure of sullied Sunday tabloid News of the World – the newspaper at the centre of many of the damning allegations that continue to unravel.

Akers will be speaking to the Home Affairs committee later today. ®

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