One story that almost broke at the end of last week was that alleging Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe had offered to resign. This then vanished without trace. There is a good reason for this: Hogan-Howe did not offer to resign. The story was pure speculation. So no prizes for guessing who ran with it in the first place.
He's resigned? Er, no he hasn't
Yes, once again we are looking at the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, and a timeline that hinges on Thursday evening, when Tom Harper of the Independent Tweeted a link about a scandal at the Met. This would be the paper’s front page lead the following morning. What would the resulting uproar mean? The Fawkes folks began to play What Happened Next.
Maybe it was really, really bad. After all, there had been “endemic corruption”, although of course this has been going on within the Met since more or less the year Dot. Well, if it was so bad, and especially when the Duggan verdict and Plebgate were thrown into the mix, the Commissioner might have to resign. They had already heard “rumours” earlier that afternoon. So that must be the story.
And so it came to pass the next day, as the Fawkes rabble claimed to have been in touch with the Home Office. They had not denied the Hogan-Howe resignation rumour! So here was a smoking gun: the Independent story showed things were so bad at the Met that this was sufficient proof. So off they went with the story. Then came the added twist: someone else decided to run with it.
Does this mean a BHH resignation? Er, no
Exaro News, the usually sound independent outfit that does proper investigative journalism, also claimed that Hogan-Howe had resigned, or had offered to do so. The basis for this was “a well-placed source”, and once again the supporting evidence was that no denial had been issued. And once again the call was plain flat wrong. It was not entirely Exaro’s fault.
It seems the Met and the Home Office did not take the enquiries totally seriously. Given the first one came from the Fawkes rabble, this is entirely understandable. But by close of business on Friday, both Met and Home Office had contacted Exaro and denied that Hogan-Howe had offered to resign. The Home Office also relayed this to The Great Guido and his followers.
So whatever scandalous events may have unfolded at New Scotland Yard, the supposition that the Commissioner had offered to resign because of them was totally wrong. It’s entirely possible that Hogan-Howe could do so in future, but last week he most definitely did not. The only difference to all the other daft stories that Staines and his pals cook up is that someone else got drawn in to it.
Ah well, back to the drawing board eh lads? Another fine mess, once again.