UPDATE: I just raised this at the morning Lobby briefing and the Prime Minister's official spokesman tried to draw a distinction between a 'request' from the Home Secretary and 'political direction' from the Home Secretary.
"It was done, yes, at the request of the Home Secretary, but it has been agreed by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. It's not direction, it's a request," he said.
"It's quite an exceptional case. This is a very high profile case. It's clearly been going on for some time and there's a huge amount of public interest in this case. The Prime Minister has been very clear that he wants to do everything we can to support the family."
When asked if the PM was simply following a tabloid agenda in the hope of good headlines, the spokesman said: "We are responding to a request from the family in a particularly exceptional case".
I pointed out that if you are the Metropolitan Police Commissioner then a 'request' from the Home Secretary - especially about an operational matter like this - will feel very much like 'political direction', if not an order.
Lord Harris is not alone either. Senior Labour figures agree that it's right for him to raise the points he has.
FURTHER UPDATE. Lord Harris has gone further on his own blog HERE.
On the Prime Minister's intervention, he states:
"This is in response to an open letter in The Sun and is entirely predictable in terms of the “pulling power” of News International on Government policy."
He says the intervention "drives a coach and horses" through the draft protocol. Lord Harris adds that the new probe:
"embroils their officers in a high profile investigation, where the chances of success are unclear, and which will divert limited investigative resources away from other matters."