By Vittorio Hernandez

London, England, United Kingdom

Britain's Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police resigned over personal links to the phone hacking scandal, which involved the News of the World paper.

Sir Paul Stephenson quit over criticisms of his hiring the former deputy editor of the paper, Neil Wallis, as his personal assistant. Wallis was arrested on suspicion of phone hacking.

Although Stephenson stressed that Wallis was not linked to the phone hacking when he hired the editor in October 2009, the commissioner quit so as not to compromise Prime Minister David Cameron.

Another News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, once served as Cameron's director of communications and resigned as editor of the newspaper over the hacking incident.

Stephenson announced his resignation while Cameron was on a trade visit to Africa. He said that to his knowledge, Wallis is not linked with the original phone hacking investigation. Wallis was arrested and is out on bail on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications.

Home Secretary Theresa May said Stephenson was not pressured to resign.

Also arrested on Sunday, but released on the same day after posting bail, was Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief executive, who was editor of the paper when the alleged hacking occurred.

The controversy prompted Cameron to cut his African visit to two from five days.


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