Phil Jones—the director of the Climate Research Unit and persona extraordinaire at the epicenter of the ClimateGate  scandal—announced today  that he will be “stepping aside” until an independent review of his actions have been completed.
From the University of East Anglia’s CRU (UEA) release:
Professor Jones said: “What is most important is that CRU continues its world leading research with as little interruption and diversion as possible. After a good deal of consideration I have decided that the best way to achieve this is by stepping aside from the Director’s role during the course of the independent review and am grateful to the University for agreeing to this. The Review process will have my full support.”
Professor Peter Liss  will be become acting director of Climate Research Unit at UEA in the interim.
Jones is perhaps best known for his leaked 1999 email stating “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie, from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”
The full email from the Examiner :
From: Phil Jones
To: ray bradley ,email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000
Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
Once Tim’s got a diagram here we’ll send that either later today or
first thing tomorrow.
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps
to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from
1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual
land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land
N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999
for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with
data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998.
Thanks for the comments, Ray.
Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) xxxxx
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) xxxx
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email email@example.com
The Daily Mail reports  that Jones is calling the idea that there is a scientific conspiracy to promote the man-made climate change theory “complete rubbish.”
“Professor Michael Mann is a highly regarded member of the Penn State faculty conducting research on climate change….In recent days a lengthy file of emails has been made public. Some of the questions raised through those emails may have been addressed already by the NAS investigation but others may not have been considered. The University is looking into this matter further, following a well defined policy used in such cases. No public discussion of the matter will occur while the University is reviewiang the concerns that have been raised.” (emphasis added).
For more reading:
The “Most Contentious Quotes” of ClimateGate  (via the UK Telegraph)
Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia .