Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Met 'Is Seething' over Ian Blair's Refusal to Quit; Pressure: Sir Ian Blair Faced More Calls for Him to Leave

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Met 'Is Seething' over Ian Blair's Refusal to Quit; Pressure: Sir Ian Blair Faced More Calls for Him to Leave

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL WAUGH, JUSTIN DAVENPORT

HOME Secretary Jacqui Smith faced fresh calls to sack Sir Ian Blairtoday amid claims that his refusal to go is damaging the force.

Liberal Democrat leadership contender Nick Clegg said: "The Met is now seethingwith resentment&that politics is overshadowing their day-today job.

"I'm not interested in the preservation of his personal pride, I am interestedin having a Met that is not overshadowed every day by discussions about hisposition." Shadow attorney general Dominic Grieve also urged the Home Secretaryto step in because Sir Ian had failed to follow the "honourable" example of HMRevenue and Customs chief Paul Gray who quit over the data fiasco.

Members of the Metropolitan Police Authority, the body that oversees the force,were expected to put forward a vote of no confidence in Sir Ian at an emergencymeeting this morning. The Commissioner was expected to survive the vote but atleast seven members of the 23-strong group were prepared to call for him to go.

At the same time, a think-tank with close links to Gordon Brown called forcontrol over London's policing to be taken from the MPA and handed over tolocal councils. A report accused the MPA of failing in one of its key dutiesholding Sir Ian to account.

In his most scathing intervention to date, Mr Clegg said: "Ken Livingstone andJacqui Smith have dragged their heels in a complete abdication of politicalresponsibility and a complete failure of imagination.

"I cannot for the life of me understand why Ken Livingstone and Jacqui Smithcannot see that you have to have accountability to be seen to be working.

If that kind of thing happened in a business the chief executive would be outon their ear overnight. If that kind of thing happened in a political party theleader would resign overnight." Mr Grieve raised fresh questions over the HomeOffice's role in the aftermath of the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes. In aletter to Police Minister Tony McNulty, he demanded to know why it took threedays to call in the Independent Police Complaints Commission to probe theshooting. Home Office permanent secretary Sir John Gieve had warned Sir Ian onFriday 22 July 2005the day of the shooting that he could not unilaterally suspend the

Act that requires their involvement within a day, yet the IPCC was not formallyinvolved until Monday 25 July. …

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