London Police Chief Resigns Amid Phone Hacking Scandal

 Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

LONDON — Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson has resigned amid the phone hacking scandal swirling around News Corp's U.K. newspaper unit News International.

Britain's most senior police officer's resignation comes hours after Rebekah Brooks, who on Friday had quit as head of News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper unit, was arrested Sunday in the phone hacking scandal.

Stephenson's resignation is the highest profile exit outside of News Corp. to materialize as the phone-hacking maelstrom continues to sweep across the political, social and media landscape here.

Most commentators and analysts agree the exit gives a clear and powerful indication of the impact and reach of the ongoing scandal.

Stephenson has faced criticism in the press and beyond for hiring former News of the World executive Neil Wallis—who was questioned by police investigating hacking—as an adviser.

In his resignation statement, the Commissioner said his links to the journalist could hamper investigations.

He said there were lessons to be learned from the affair, but he was leaving with his integrity intact.

He also said he had no knowledge of the extent of the phone hacking.

Stephenson said: "I have taken this decision as a consequence of the ongoing speculation and accusations relating to the Met's links with News International at a senior level and in particular in relation to Mr Neil Wallis."

He added: "Let me state clearly, I and the people who know me know that my integrity is completely intact.

"I may wish we had done some things differently, but I will not lose sleep over my personal integrity."

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