“… an Evening Standard survey, carried out by YouGov, showed that 44 per cent of Londoners support Sir Ian. Just over one third think he should go.”
According to the Mayor 37% think he should go so a net approval rating of +7%. Pretty weak. Interestingly 81% of Londoners have an opinion so it is a pretty high profile issue still in the run up to the MPA meeting on Thursday at which Blair will again face calls to resign.
Today in the Telegraph Brian Paddick, who used to be one of Blair’s assistant commissioners and who has just been selected to run for the LibDems as London Mayor, really puts the boot into Blair. I have reproduced some the key section of the article below:
Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, is in the line of fire now. Mr Paddick delivered a devastating verdict on his former boss. “His position is unsustainable, I think he should resign,” he said. “I was removed from my job when the ‘kiss and tell’ happened and the reason I was given was that I, rather than the policing of Lambeth, had become the story. Ian Blair has become the story. London would be safer with someone else in charge.”
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has, this former senior policeman believes, lost the confidence of the rank and file. “Ken Livingstone says police officers regularly come up to him and say ‘give our regards to Sir Ian’ – well either he is taking one of those substances we were talking about earlier or he doesn’t appreciate sarcasm,” he said.
Mr Paddick fell out with Sir Ian over the handling of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. Mr Paddick said he was told within hours that the police had killed the wrong man – but Sir Ian maintains that he did not know for another 24 hours. When we asked whether he believed that the commissioner did in fact know earlier, he replied: “Libel laws prevent me from answering that question.”
He did say, however, that he was convinced that a story suggesting that the suspects in the Stephen Lawrence case could be charged again, which was published on the day that a critical report was coming out last week, was deliberately planted to divert attention.
The problem, according to Mr Paddick, is that Sir Ian has politicised the Met. “When Labour were the only party who wanted ID cards, Ian Blair came out in support of ID cards. When Labour wanted to extend the 90 days detention he sent one of the assistant commissioners into the House of Commons to persuade rebel Labour MPs to vote with the Government. When during the last general election the threat assessment for Tony Blair was that he should travel around in an armour proofed police Range Rover, Number 10 phoned the commissioner’s office and said we want ‘Vote Labour’ on the side of the police car, and Ian Blair did it. The decisions Ian Blair has made, the things that Ian Blair has said, have been very helpful to Labour. He has allowed himself to be seen as too aligned with Labour.”
Mr Paddick claims that Sir Ian forced him to put his name to a press release supporting Government proposals to allow terrorist suspects to be detained for 90 days without trial – even though he had made clear that he opposed the plan. “His office said ‘you are a deputy assistant commissioner in the metropolitan police and as such you will support 90 days’. It felt as if I had a gun to my head,” he said.
The political independence of the Met is, in his view, being compromised. “Police officers want the public to be proud of them, if there’s a perception that their chief is aligned to a political party that undermines rank and file officers.”
Any of the 44% approvers reading this piece are likely to think again.