Former Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson accepted a free £12,000 stay at a luxury spa because he felt under pressure to get back to work quickly after surgery, he told the Leveson Inquiry today.
Sir Paul said he took the break at Champneys, where a former News of the World executive editor arrested over phone-hacking was employed as a PR consultant, to speed up his rehabilitation.
He insisted the five-week stay was organised by the spa’s managing director Stephen Purdew – and he did not know they employed suspect Neil Wallis, an ‘acquaintance’ whom he had met socially on 11 occasions.
The former head of Scotland Yard said he was ‘reluctant’ to accept the freebie but added that he felt under ‘pressure’ to return to work after four months sick leave.
Sir Paul said Home Secretary Theresa May and London Mayor Boris Johnson both opposed his resignation when he told them he was going to quit.
‘Far from being encouraged or advised to resign, it was clear to me that both the Home Secretary and the Mayor were shocked, expressing full support for me to stay in office,’ he said in a statement to the inquiry.
Separately, it has also emerged that Neil Wallis was hired by the Metropolitan Police as a consultant.
His company Chamy Media was paid £24,000 by the force for ‘communications advice’ in 2009 and 2010 while the force’s deputy director of public affairs was on sick leave.
Lol… He then goes on to describe how senior officer spilt their guts to the daily rags on a regular basis…
May I remind you, gentle reader, that we are talking about LIVE investigations!
If any officer of my lowly rank had done the same, WE WOULD BE SACKED-IMPRISONED OR AS LIKE AS NOT, BOTH!
What will happen to this lot?
‘That was hugely distracting and in my opinion unprofessional.’
Shame you couldn’t do anything… oh hang on…
If this is the calibre of senior officers- ROLL ON PRIVATISATION….