Scotland Yard chief blames London mayor after quitting (Lead)

October 3rd, 2008 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 3 (IANS) Controversial Scotland Yard chief Sir Ian Blair has blamed London’s new mayor for forcing him to resign, setting off a political controversy Friday over both key positions.“I would have wished to continue to serve Londoners until my time of office expired in February 2010, However… the new mayor made clear, in a very pleasant but determined way, that he wished there to be a change of leadership at the Met (Metropolitan Police),” Blair told reporters.

The comment by Blair, who became the first London police chief in more than a century to quit his post before his tenure was up, prompted senior Labour politicians to rally around him, declaring he was victim of politics by mayor Boris Johnson.

“There’s a process in place that the mayor chose not to respect,” said Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

“We can’t expect people to resign because there’s a story about them on the front page of the (pro-Conservative) Daily Mail.”

The police chief, who was said to be close to former premier Tony Blair, became controversial after his force shot and killed an innocent Brazilian, mistaking him for a terrorist in the aftermath of the 7/7 London suicide bombings that left 52 people dead.

He is also under a cloud over allegations that he awarded lucrative contracts to a friend and is the subject of an employment tribunal following charges of racism slapped by his most senior Asian officer.

However, Blair is also credited with having led Britain’s anti-terrorist strategy.

The pro-Labour Guardian newspaper quoted a government source as saying: “The Metropolitan police commissioner does not just look after London but in counter-terrorism terms looks after the whole country and the leadership of the police.

“Yet London has decided this,” the newspaper added.

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