“But the controversies had little impact on Mr Vaz’s political career and he has gone on to play a key role in examining the role of the Metropolitan Police in the phone-hacking scandal. It may now be detectives working for Scotland Yard who have evidence that could call into question his conduct”.
However, as well as having seen partial extracts from a confidential police investigation, the Telegraph makes clear that it was briefed by senior civil servants:
“Mr Vaz is chairman of the home affairs select committee, charged with holding the police to account. Whitehall sources claimed that he had not been vetted for the role, unlike holders of other senior offices”.
It strikes me as implausible that an individual police detective involved in investigating Mr Vaz would get hold of a report and suddenly show it to the Telegraph twelve years on, still less that the Met at a more senior level would condone such a leak with Lord Justice Levenson’s report pending.
Further, if the Telegraph’s source really was a Met detective, it would be rather unprofessional for journalists then to write in the article “It may now be detectives working for Scotland Yard who have evidence that could call into question his conduct”.
A senior civil servant with access to a 2001 Met report copied to the then Cabinet Secretary is therefore the more likely source for the Telegraph, whose columnist Sue Cameron also seems to be Sir Humphrey’s favourite outlet.
Few would dispute that Keith Vaz has been one of the most effective Select Committee Chairs in holding senior officials to proper account since Select Committees and their Chairs have been elected, rather than “vetted” by whips and officials advising the executive.
It may be that unelected officials in Whitehall are striking back at their inquisitors.