Home Office boss hits out over police chief removal
The senior civil servant at the Home Office said today that he and former home secretary Jacqui Smith were "shocked and disappointed" to see Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair forced out of his post by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Sir Ian announced his resignation last October just days after Mr Johnson took control of the Metropolitan Police Authority. The new mayor had made no secret that he did not have confidence in his top officer.
Today's intervention by Home Office permanent secretary Sir David Normington is a highly unusual step for a serving civil service chief and an indication of how unhappy the department was over Sir Ian's removal.
Speaking on a BBC Radio 4 documentary, The Ian Blair Years, broadcast today, Sir David appeared to indicate disapproval of Mr Johnson's destabilisation of the Commissioner, saying he hoped in future there would be "close co-operation" between the Mayor and the Home Office over the position of Britain's senior policeman.
He recalled how he and Ms Smith - who quit her job in last week's reshuffle - met Sir Ian shortly after a crisis meeting between the Commissioner and the Mayor and recognised he was determined to resign.
Sir David said: "We did debate with him why he had got to this point. I think he believed that, since the Mayor had lost confidence in him, he could not continue. He was fairly resolute that he was going to stand down.
"It was a shock and it was a disappointment. We liked Ian Blair and you had to feel for the human being at the heart of this. This was the pinnacle of his career and he was having to step down from it and he was obviously very upset about that."
In lightly veiled criticism of Mr Johnson's handling of the police chief, Sir David said: "The appointment of the Commissioner and the resignation of the Commissioner is ultimately a matter for the Home Secretary in law and therefore she felt that she should have been consulted about it.
"I would hope that we wouldn't get into that position again and I would hope that there can always be close co-operation with the police authority and the Home Office, the Home Secretary and Mayor on the performance of the Commissioner.
"I hope they can work together."
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 1 Stephen Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
- 2 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and chairs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Ian Thorpe gay: Olympic swimmer comes out in Parkinson interview
Stephen Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and chairs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli air strike destroys home for the disabled killing two women residents
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli PM says conflict may 'continue for a long time' as hundreds of Palestinians flee their homes
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Dynamics CRM D...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Web Developer ...
£50000 - £67000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# R&D .NE...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...