Boris claims veto over Met commissioner job

By Alex Stevenson

London mayor Boris Johnson has reasserted his influence over the appointment of the next Metropolitan police commissioner in an evidence session with MPs.

He told the Commons' home affairs committee that he had an "effective veto" over the choice of who would replace Sir Paul Stephenson, who resigned from the job at the height of the phone-hacking scandal.

Four candidates will discover which has won the top policing job next Monday when the appointment is announced, Mr Johnson suggested.

Acting Met commissioner Tim Godwin, former Merseyside police chief Bernard Hogan-Howe, Chief Constable Stephen House of Strathcylde police and Association of Chief Police Officers president Sir Hugh Orde are thought to have applied for the role.

Officially the Met commissioner role is appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the home secretary Theresa May, who must have "regard" for the mayor's view.

But Mr Johnson, who forced former commissioner Sir Ian Blair to resign after withdrawing his support early in his term at City Hall, suggested he has a power of veto over the appointment.

"It is obvious the next commissioner of the Met will serve with the support of both myself and the home secretary and in order to make sure that happens we'll have a good-natured discussion," he told MPs.

"I'm sure we'll come to a very good conclusion."

Prime minister David Cameron was thought to have been in favour of appointing former New York police chief Bill Bratton to the role, until Ms May made clear the job had to go to a British citizen.

Mr Johnson rejected the suggestion that the talent pool of senior UK officers was inadequate.

"There is no shortage of first-class police officers in this country," he added.

"We've got an exceptional field before us now and I see no need to expand it. You need someone with a real feel for the bones and the joints of the British police system.

"We have abundant strength and qualifications in our candidates already."