HOME Secretary Theresa May is under pressure to explain exactly when Portuguese detectives made their offer to work with Scotland Yard.
Writing to Metropolitan Police chief Sir Paul Stephenson, Mrs May told him: “Following discussions between our Ambassador in Lisbon and the Portuguese Judicial Police, the Government received an offer of co-operation with the police here.” The meeting is crucial because it paved the way for Mrs May to request the assistance of the Yard.
However, the Sunday Express can disclose that Britain does not have an ambassador working in Portugal after Alexander Ellis was transferred at the end of last year.
In January, the Foreign Office announced that Joanna Kuenssberg O’Sullivan had taken over as Charge d’Affaires until a new ambassador was appointed.
The following month it was announced that Jill Gallard had been appointed Ambassador to Portugal, but she will not take up her post until July.
Home Office officials were unable to explain whether it was Mr Ellis who had met with the Portuguese police, and if so when this took place.
“We are unable to check this sort of detail on a weekend,” said a Home Office official. “We don’t want to get drawn into who met who and when.”