Sunday 17 July 2011

Metropolitan Police chief Sir Paul Stephenson has resigned.

Sir Paul announced his resignation at a press conference this evening in the wake of revelations that he received a £12k spa break where News of the World hacking suspect Neil Wallis was a PR consultant.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner was already under pressure after it emerged that he hired Mr Wallis as a PR consultant for the force.

Scotland Yard denied that it was the 60-year-old ex-journalist who had arranged the stay for the top officer as he recovered from surgery.

Stephen Purdew the managing director laid on the stay at the resort to provide him with the accommodation.

But the disclosure will raise further questions about Sir Paul's judgment, days after he faced a dressing down from London Mayor Boris Johnson over the PR contract.

Mid-range premier double rooms at the exclusive health resort cost £598 per person in Tring, Hertfordshire.

Neil Wallis - known as Wolfman for his no-nonsense approach in the newsroom - was paid £24,000 by the Met Police in 2009 and 2010 for 'provide strategic communication advice and support'.

His contract was cancelled less than six months before the launch of the Operation Weeting investigation into phone hacking.

The ex-journalist, who was Andy Coulson's deputy editor, was arrested on suspicion of intercepting mobile phones in a dawn swoop on his home in Chiswick, west London on Thursday. He was later released on bail.

After leaving the News of the World in 2009, Mr Wallis had created the set up his own PR consultancy Chamy Media.