Sir Ian survives no confidence vote

Met Police Authority retains confidence in Sir Ian Blair
Met Police Authority retains confidence in Sir Ian Blair

The Metropolitan police commissioner has survived a vote of no confidence.

A majority at the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) backed its embattled commissioner Sir Ian Blair, who has repeatedly resisted calls to resign.

A jury at the Old Bailey ruled earlier this month that the Metropolitan police had put the public at risk on July 22nd 2005 by breaching health and safety legislation.

This resulted in the death of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, who was fatally shot at Stockwell underground station after being mistaken for a suicide bomber.

The Conservatives have been leading calls for Sir Ian's resignation, arguing he must be held accountable for his force's inability to abide by health and safety laws.

Conservative members of the MPA today forced an extraordinary general meeting but failed to muster enough support to pass a vote of no confidence against the commissioner.

Unlike the London Assembly, which this month declared it has no confidence in Sir Ian, the MPA has the power to remove the commissioner.

Welcoming the verdict, Sir Ian said he hoped it would end "months of speculation," adding that he is a "man of honour."

Today's vote, which Sir Ian won 15 against seven with one member abstaining, relieves pressure on the home secretary to replace Sir Ian.

Jacqui Smith, along with Gordon Brown and mayor of London Ken Livingstone, have repeatedly expressed their support for the commissioner.

Richard Barnes, policing spokesman for the Conservative group on the London Assembly, said today's MPA vote had been politicised.

He said: "I am sorry that a majority of the Authority has decided to vote according to the wishes of their political masters rather than do their duty as members of the Police Authority. I chose to do my duty according to the best interests of London.

"No one should underestimate the seriousness that my colleagues and I attached to taking this stance. But those who decided not to support us should remember the chain of events that brought us to this point."

Mr Livingstone countered, saying that today's vote should put an end to the "damaging and politically-motivated campaign" for the sacking of Sir Ian.

The mayor said: "This politically cynical campaign, which has been condemned by leading policing experts, does nothing to assist the fight against crime or the work to stop terrorist attacks and indeed is indeed an example of grossly irresponsible political interference damaging the police."


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