Exiting Cop Turns On Prime Minister in Tab Scandal

Chief Paul Stephenson hints he was protecting David Cameron
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jul 18, 2011 1:42 AM CDT
The focus in the burgeoning News of the World scandal is now turning on Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

(Newser) – The flames of the News of the World scandal are lapping at Prime Minister David Cameron's heels after a top cop zinged him for his relationship with a Rupert Murdoch henchman. Scotland Yard's Metropolitan Police Chief Sir Paul Stephenson resigned amid questions about the force's relationship with the tabloid and now-busted newspaper editor Neil Wallis. But Stephenson dinged the prime minister in his resignation statement, saying Cameron risked being "compromised" because of his ties to Andy Coulson, another Murdoch editor arrested in the burgeoning phone hacking scandal.

Stephenson, who has denied any wrongdoing, appeared to lay the blame for the police-force mess at Cameron's feet, indicating he was only trying to protect the prime minister. "I am aware of the many political exchanges in relation to Mr. Coulson's previous employment," he stated mysteriously. "I believe it would have been extraordinarily clumsy of me to have exposed the prime minister and the home secretary to any accusation as a consequence of them being in possession of operational information in this regard." Cameron hired Coulson after he stepped down from the top job at the tabloid, though the editor quit early this year, long before he was arrested this month. Police sources have told the Guardian they are furious that Stephenson is taking the heat for what is ultimately a too-close political relationship between Cameron and other conservative politicians, and Murdoch and his media empire. There's been no immediate response from Cameron.

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