Former home secretary John Reid received two briefings on the Met’s first investigation into phone-hacking the day after the News of the World‘s royal editor Clive Goodman was arrested, the Leveson Inquiry has heard.
The claim was originally made by former Scotland Yard anti-terror chief Peter Clarke, who oversaw the 2006 News of the World investigation called Operation Caryatid, when he gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on Thursday.
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Dr Reid denied Clarke’s claims the following day, telling The Guardian: “I can categorically say that I did not receive any briefing from the Met suggesting that there was widespread hacking including MPs and the deputy PM.”
But today Neil Garnham QC, counsel for the Metropolitan Police, said two briefing notes were prepared for the Dr Reid dated August 9 2006, the day after Goodman was arrested alongside private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.
One of the documents was prepared by the Met and other by Richard Reilly, the private secretary to the Home Office’s permanent secretary, the inquiry was told.
A copy of the Met briefing has been submitted to the inquiry and efforts are underway to locate the Reilly briefing, according to Garnham.
Lord Justice Leveson said: ‘This is about the extent to which the police kept the Government informed about Caryatid… over the weekend I have seen a paper prepared by the police for the Home Office, I’ve also seen that Lord Reid has made it clear that he doesn’t not have a recollection of seeing a document.
‘It’s obviously very important, not least because of the interplay between this part of the inquiry and the next part of the inquiry [the relationship between politicians and the press.”
Commenting on the Reilly briefing note, he added: ‘I’d be very grateful for the opportunity to see it if only to identify the extent to which there’s a mismatch between in recollection.’
When he gave evidence on Thursday Reid was asked if he had made it clear to the then home secretary that the range of phone-hacking victims was “far wider than the royal household” and that other journalists “might well” have been involved.
“I think it did,” he replied. ‘I don’t remember the exact content of that discussion.
“I know that a briefing paper went from the Metropolitan Police to the Home Office, and that Dr Reid was aware of it and it was on the basis of that that he asked me some questions in the margins of another meeting, a meeting actually about the airlines terrorist plot.”
Dr Reid told The Guardian on Friday: “I can categorically say that I did not receive any briefing from the Met suggesting that there was widespread hacking including MPs and the deputy PM.”
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