Culture Media & Sport Select Committee – 24th March 2011.
Q78 Jim Sheridan: How would you describe you relationship with Lucy Panton?
John Yates: I have known Lucy for a number of years. I have been around crime and serious crime for probably the best part of 15, 20 years. I have known Lucy for ages, actually.
Q79 Jim Sheridan: Do you have any other friends at News International?
John Yates: Currently?
Jim Sheridan: Well, even then. Old friends/new friends?
John Yates: Yes, probably – I have to think about who has been there, who has not been there and where they have gone since. No, there would be a number of people I know. Again, I have been around serious crime for 20 years; you are going to come across journalists in every walk of life. It is not unusual.
Q80 Jim Sheridan: But do you not think it would be unusual, given the circumstances at that time for you to have dinner and social arrangements with people who are being investigated?
John Yates: Hang on, News International is a big firm. It is like saying someone cannot have dinner with me because a detective inspector in Bromley has been nicked for corruption. It is absurd. If they were suspects, absolutely not right, but they were not at that point, as far as I am aware they are not now, and if they did become then clearly that makes a huge difference.
Q81 Jim Sheridan: Have you met any of the Murdoch family?
John Yates: Not that I am aware of.