The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

Just two simply points, sir, if I may. One is I hope I indicated that I don't think it would have been the resource-intensive activity that is put as the argument why it wasn't pursued. I'm very conscious of police resources in London in particular, as a London MP. I wouldn't want them to be spending lots of time and effort on things that weren't going to be useful, productive, but you could, perfectly properly, have found six witnesses from the evidence, across the range of activity, in relation to the other prospective defendants without having to go and speak to 500 potential victims in terms of prosecution. It would have, I think -- it looks as if it would have secured convictions, even on what I saw then. Obviously I'm aware other enquiries happened later. So that's the first point.

Secondly, in relation to this Inquiry's wok, there are a whole set of relationships that clearly occurred between the police and the News of the World and other major newspaper organisations, and these issues, decisions to prosecute or not to go ahead or not need, as the Inquiry's properly doing, to be looked at in the context of those other relationships and whether the decisions were affected by other relationships at a higher level between editors and senior staff at the News of the World and other titles and senior people in the Met.

My fairly simplistic impression is there was far too close a relationship on regular occasions, not just on this issue, but as the senior police officer said yesterday, in relation to a whole set of issues. This Inquiry and Parliament's -- the government's determination to set it up I hope will clear out that stable because it's an unacceptable set of practice that has gone on. Public service and police officers must be free from buying and selling and acting illegally. We need to sort it for once to restore confidence in the police, to restore confidence in journalists doing their job properly, so good journalists aren't tainted by the activities of bad journalists, and to continue allowing a free press to work within the bounds of the law set by Parliament.

So it's a great opportunity, and sadly, as somebody who has supported the Met police for a long time, they lost their way badly and at a senior level, and clearly were -- "corrupted" may be an unfair word, but were tainted and overly influenced by improper considerations, and I hope this Inquiry will be very robust about both its findings and its recommendations on that issue.

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