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

No. Mischief is a significant component of newspapers, particularly tabloid newspapers. But, having said that, can I just say this: when 7/7 happened, for instance, after 7/7 -- and a lot of things happened over 7/7 and 21/7 in particular. When it was all folding in on the Met and, you know -- and for me, this sort of summed up the sort of situation. It was felt that he needed to give an interview to sort of set the Commissioner's position, right, to stamp himself on it, yeah? So it was decided that that interview would be with the News of the World. It was going to be on a Saturday morning.

So we sent along Lucy Panton and we sent along Stuart Kuttner. Very wise, very serious, very experienced journalists, them both. Stuart was -- he had been around for many, many years, and like me, he had a deep, deep interest in current affairs and home affairs.

They went to do the interview and this was absolutely set up as a PR coup for him, right? He was going to set out his stall to explain what was happening and how he felt, et cetera, et cetera, and it was a totally done deal. We knew what we were getting and we were absolutely happy that we were effectively playing a role, as it were, for the Met to get on the front foot.

And I remember Stuart Kuttner ringing me on the back bench -- that's the bit where we sat on a Saturday as we edited -- and saying, "You're never going to believe what he's just said about this, about the moment that he was told that Jean Charles de Menezes was an innocent man." And he said, "He described it as -- when they told him, Ian Blair said it was like a 'Houston, we've got a problem' moment."

It was a wonderful example of his ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He had absolutely no work to do on this, but his arrogance and his views, as it were, regarded that sort of phrase over the killing of an innocent man -- "Houston, we have a problem". And you know, we're journalists, so we stuck that in as a headline and it didn't go down too well.

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