Got an email through this morning from the Brian Paddick campaign team drawing my eyes to an interview he has given to The Telegraph. The very fact that he’s got such a large piece there is a good sign about how credible Brian’s candidacy will be with the media – and he also gives an excellent account of why he’s the best choice for London Mayor.
His comments about Ian Blair’s records at the Met is one of the most interesting parts of the piece:
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.”
You can read the rest of the interivew here.
This is going to be an interesting contest! On Thursday evening I spoke alongside Brian at the Finchley & Golders Green Liberal Democrats AGM – I briefly began my political life there before moving to Hornsey & Wood Green – and he was, as I’d expect! – very impressive. Having this man who knows and cares passionately about London, and was a very senior police officer for years, will change this contest completely. So go and sign up to support him on his website if you haven’t yet!
I read this at work last night (I’m a media clippings person) and I’m very happy with Brian at the moment!
One may say it is scandalous for a former Deputy Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police to use politics in order to win votes for the Liberal Democrats. The Metropolitan Police continue to be independent, with a professional structure of police officers, not elected by politicians. Moreover, no officer in the Metropolitan Police is able to identify with a certain political party in the United Kingdom. However, they, and quite rightly, are able enjoy the democratic right to hold personal opinions, which should in no way infringe on their day to day work as officers in the Metropolitan Police. Brian’s decision to attack Sir Ian Blair and the professionalism of a senior officer is unacceptable. He as a senior officer should understand the internal policies and concerns within the organisation. He should empathise with officers, not make cynical remarks about the Met. This in my opinion is a political tool to win votes by Brian.
I saw Brian Paddick on the BBC politics show this lunchtime. I must say, I was most impressed. He strikes me as one of the most presentable media savvy figures in the party, and was a welcome sight following the undignified spat between the two leadership candidates that proceeded it. What a turn-off that was to the public at large.Given he is running for Mayor I think he is entitled to make his personal position clear on the Met. In this way, I guess it isn’t unlike the concept of cabinet responsibility.I think he has a point as well. Ian Blair went too far in supporting 90 day detention orders.