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Police: Metropolitan Police Commissioner

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:29 am on 9th October 2008.

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Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Security and Counter-terrorism) 11:29 am, 9th October 2008

My Lords, the noble Baroness is absolutely right that we must now move ahead and find a new commissioner in whom everyone has confidence. I was rather disappointed to find that the mayor was suggesting that there should be a long continuum with the deputy, Sir Paul Stephenson, standing in, and that this should go on for a prolonged time. Indeed, he said very clearly in his discussions with Sir Ian Blair that he wanted to have a long continuum. That would be very wrong. The head of the Met has very clear responsibilities in terms of counterterrorism as well as the important duties he has in London and a whole raft of other duties. That is why it is essential that we move as quickly as possible. We need to go down the correct route of appointing him, and we have already started that. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has already written to the mayor and the MPA saying that we need to start this process. We need to move quickly, but even if we move as quickly as we can, it will take about six or seven months; that is what it took the last time.