The head of Scotland's biggest police force has said he applied for the top job in UK policing because of the "extraordinary circumstances" which left the post vacant.
Strathclyde Police Chief Constable Stephen House said he had always expected to retire from the Scottish force, but changed his mind after Sir Paul Stephenson's shock resignation from Scotland Yard over the phone-hacking scandal.
He is understood to have sent an email to staff yesterday confirming that he had applied to become the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
Glasgow-born Mr House is considered a strong candidate, having previously served as an assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan Police in 2005.
In the email, printed in The Herald newspaper, he said: "Throughout my time here I have always said that I expected to retire from Strathclyde.
"The circumstances of the vacancy arising at the Met were very unexpected and very unfortunate. It is only because of these extraordinary circumstances that I have changed my position and submitted an application for the role.
"Regardless of the outcome of my application, I would like to assure you that I remain proud of the work that we do here in Strathclyde in keeping people safe."
Strathclyde Police said it was a "personal matter" and had no further comment.
Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, has also applied for the job.
Home Secretary Theresa May said earlier this week that the process of appointing a replacement for Sir Paul was too important to delay to enable contenders from other countries to be considered.
The new commissioner will take over the force on a five-year contract, an advertisement for the post said.
The deadline expired at noon on Wednesday.
Applicants, to be whittled down to a shortlist in the coming days by the Home Office and Metropolitan Police Authority, will be serving chief constables or of equivalent ranks.
The appointment will be made by the Queen after a recommendation by Mrs May.
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