The Government is under increasing pressure to reopen the inquiry into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, joining demands for police corruption to be examined afresh.
Mr Johnson said yesterday that he supported the teenager's mother, Doreen Lawrence, in her call for a fresh probe after an investigation by The Independent uncovered evidence about the extent of corruption allegations against an officer on the case.
In a letter to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, Mr Johnson said: "I informed Mrs Lawrence that I support her request to you for an inquiry."
It follows the disclosure last month of detailed corruption allegations against an officer investigating the murder of Mr Lawrence, 18, in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993. The investigation by The Independent uncovered internal police files concerning Detective Sergeant John Davidson, who played a leading role in the hunt for the killers.
The files allege that DS Davidson had dealt "in all aspects of criminality" and had a corrupt relationship with Clifford Norris, the father of David Norris – who was jailed for life along with Gary Dobson in January for the murder.
The previously unpublished intelligence reports gave the fullest account yet of alleged corruption by a detective on the inquiry team. Mr Johnson wrote that, if true, the claims "did raise serious concerns about corruption which should be considered by an inquiry".
Mrs Lawrence wrote to Mrs May following The Independent's revelations in March, expressing concern that the original investigation had been derailed by corruption. She said: "Back then, we had serious concerns about how the inquiry was run, because each time we had information, particularly about the individual we believed was responsible for Stephen's murder, the police took no action. We kept wondering why."
Kit Malthouse, Mr Johnson's Deputy Mayor for Policing, has asked the Metropolitan Police for a report into the claims, and Downing Street has urged all new allegations to be studied by the force.
Keith Vaz MP, the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, has also called for a full investigation, while the former Home Secretary Jack Straw has called on the police to explain why the allegations were not disclosed to the Macpherson inquiry, which he set up after the unsuccessful first murder investigation. In a separate letter, the Mayor reportedly told Mrs Lawrence that his office was reviewing whether the Met had "properly implemented all the recommendations of the Macpherson inquiry".
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said the inquiries would be completed within four weeks.