Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Police Apologise as Leaks Row Escalates; Tory Suggests Top Officer Not Right for Role

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Police Apologise as Leaks Row Escalates; Tory Suggests Top Officer Not Right for Role

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Churcher

THE Tories have called on one of the country's top police officers to consider his position at the head of a Whitehall leaks inquiry after he apologised for accusing the party of trying to undermine his investigation.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick, Britain's anti-terrorism chief, retracted his weekend comments and said he was sorry for any offence or embarrassment caused.

He issued a statement shortly after Conservative leader David Cameron publicly demanded he take back the completely baseless allegations of efforts to scupper the inquiry into MP Damian Green.

But although the Tories accepted the apology and said they drew a line under the controversy, shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve called on Mr Quick to ask colleagues whether he should hand over the case.

The former chief constable of Surrey said yesterday he was forced to move his children out of his home amid security fears after a Sunday newspaper published details about his wife's business.

In comments suggesting the Conservatives were behind the article, he claimed the party and its supporters were mobilised against his investigation.

"I think it is a very spiteful act, possibly to intimidate me away from investigating Mr Green, and I feel it has put my family at risk," he said.

"It is an attempt to undermine an investigation which is legitimate."

As head of the Home Office leaks inquiry, Mr Quick approved the controversial arrest of Mr Green, the shadow immigration minister, and the raid on his parliamentary office on November 27.

He had already issued a partial retraction, saying he regretted suggesting that the Tory machinery and their Press friends were opposing the inquiry "in a wholly corrupt way".

Under mounting pressure yesterday, he went further, saying: "I have now reflected on the comments I made at a difficult time for me and my family. …

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