Brian calls on Blair to quit

by Stephen Tall on November 14, 2007

Lib Dem London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick has called on Ian Blair, the under-fire head of the Metropolitan police, to quit.

There were some eyebrows raised a couple of weeks ago, when Brian stopped short of calling on his former police colleague to step down in the wake of the Met’s conviction by the courts for endangering the public over the fatal shooting of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes. Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg had already called for Sir Ian’s head.

But the former deputy assistant commissioner is quoted now as saying: “I reluctantly am coming to the view that London would be better off without Ian Blair as commissioner.”

In an in-depth analysis of the future mayoral race, The Times contrasts Brian’s stance with the position of his opponents, Ken and Boris:

David Cameron’s office will have registered Mr Paddick’s intervention with chagrin. Nothing has distilled the Tory leader’s doubts about his London mayoral candidate quite like Mr Johnson’s failure to exploit the fallout over the Stockwell shooting. Mr Livingstone has left himself exposed by mounting a staunch defence of Sir Ian, but Mr Johnson has been all but mute.

The newspaper goes on to note the mutterings about Boris’s candidacy:

Mr Cameron, addressing a function on Monday, made fun of his candidate saying: “Inside Boris there is a serious, ambitious politician fighting to get out.” The gag, while seemingly affectionate, was laced with menace. Even donors to Mr Johnson’s campaign – he has so far registered £80,000 – express dismay privately at the hush that has settled over his mayoral effort. Other critics noted that the first public act of Mr Johnson’s campaign office on moving into new accommodation was to dispatch invitations to a Christmas party.

Update: more bad news for Boris – the Daily Mail’s Ben Brogan has posted a blog entitled, ‘Boris ‘in danger of bombing’. It includes an intriguing confidence:

Last week I was sworn to secrecy about a costly organisational cock-up by Boris, which reinforced my doubts about his candidacy. I’m sure he’ll turn up at some point, but beating Ken is a serious business; I’m not sure the party can afford an Old Etonian, Old Bullingdonian loser.

A promise is a promise, of course – but come on, Ben, spill the beans. You’re a blogger, after all, you don’t need to be responsible.