Ian Blair's fate hangs in the balance

Met chief faces vote of no confidence by his own police authority as critics say he's now in 'last-chance saloon'
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The Independent Online

Sir Ian Blair's role as Metropolitan police chief was plunged further into crisis last night as it emerged he faces a vote of no confidence by his own police watchdog.

Members of the Metro-politan Police Authority (MPA) are expected to call for his resignation at a meeting later this month.

Sources told The Independent on Sunday yesterday that Sir Ian, who is already under fire for secretly taping phone conversations with senior members of the Government, had "reached the last-chance saloon" and that some members are minded to pass a motion against the commissioner at a meeting with him on 30 March.

One said: "We will obviously listen to what he has to say for himself, but it's getting to the stage where he is the issue and not the safety of London. We should be talking about burglary and knife crime, not his latest gaffe."

Sir Ian is under intense pressure to resign from his job over a series of blunders which have been seized upon by his critics as evidence that he is not capable of leading Britain's most powerful police force.

Earlier this week, he was forced to apologise to Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, as well as to Nick Hardwick, the head of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), for secretly taping phone conversations with them.

Insiders within the Met say that the commissioner is being kept on until the outcome of an inquiry by the IPCC into claims that he misled the public over the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station in July.

HIS SUPPORTERS

KEN LIVINGSTONE Mayor of London, has suggested officers within Scotland Yard who are hostile to Sir Ian's modernising agenda are trying to undermine the commissioner.

CHARLES CLARKE The Home Secretary, has said that he has "full confidence" in Sir Ian and adds that he considers the matter of the taped phone conversations as "closed".

PAUL STEPHENSON The Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner said:"It is clear to everybody that the commissioner does regret the unfortunate recording."

ALAN RUSBRIDGER Editor of The Guardian wrote an article entitled: "Why Blair must not quit" 12 months after the commissioner took up his post.

JENNY ABRAMSKY Head of BBC Radio and Music is said to be a close friend of Sir Ian's, and reportedly accompanied him and Rusbridger to a Nuffield College, Oxford, dinner last year.

HIS CRITICS

PAUL ROBERTS from the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents serving constables, has called for Sir Ian's resignation "forthwith", describing his position as untenable.

SHAMI CHAKRABARTI Director of human rights organisation Liberty has called for Sir Ian's resignation, branding his actions as "bizarre", "unconstitutional and quite possibly unlawful".

DAVID DAVIS Shadow Home Secretary views the outcome of the IPCC inquiry, expected at the end of April, into the shooting of Mr de Menezes as crucial to Sir Ian's position.

ROB WILSON MP One of three Conservative backbenchers to table a Commons motion calling for Sir Ian's sacking following his remarks about the Soham murders.

RICHARD BARNES Conservative member of the London Assembly and Metropolitan Police Authority expressed disbelief at Sir Ian's remarks about the Soham murders.