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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 September 2005, 01:24 GMT 02:24 UK
Ex-police chief attacks Blunkett
Lord Stevens and David Blunkett
The early working relationship was widely perceived as fractious
Former Metropolitan Police head Lord Stevens has attacked David Blunkett in his memoirs, claiming people found him "duplicitous and intimidating".

In the book, serialised in Sunday's News of the World, he alleges the former home secretary knew little about policing when he came to the post.

Lord Stevens said their disagreements included how to respond to terrorism.

Mr Blunkett said Lord Stevens had been an excellent commissioner and wished him well in seeking to sell his book.

The former home secretary, who resigned amid controversy over his ex-lover in December last year, said he and Lord Stevens had a shared legacy on which they could reflect with pride.

Al-Qaeda plot

The former Met Police commissioner, who retired in January after five years in post, claimed he and Mr Blunkett also disagreed on crime figures in London.

He said in his book that their working relationship was initially unpleasant and stressful and alleges Mr Blunkett briefed newspapers against him.

Their early period of working together was widely perceived at the time as being fractious, said BBC political correspondent Terry Stiastny.

Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, and former Home Office minister, John Denham, told BBC Radio Five Live he was mystified by Lord Stevens' comments.

"The idea that Britain's police force has been damaged by the things that David set in train seems to me to be quite wrong."

Sunday's newspaper also includes excerpts from the book which claim al-Qaeda terrorists planned to assassinate Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie Blair during the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002.

'Storm rumbling'

He said he ordered a massive covert operation to protect the couple during the parade.

The paper said he warned the Blairs about the plot, after receiving the intelligence weeks before the event.

Mr Blair was "absolutely unfazed" and he and Mrs Blair decided to continue with their plans, refusing to wear bullet proof vests.

"I was constantly scanning faces in the crowd for signs of trouble and thinking, I hope to God nothing comes from somewhere.

"The fact that nothing untoward did happen was again a tribute to our intelligence gathering and the precautions we took."

He was quoted in the newspaper as saying the threat from terrorists was continuous "like a storm rumbling on the horizon, with occasional outbreaks of thunder and lightning".

Both Downing Street and Scotland Yard said they did not discuss security matters.

What Lord Stevens wrote about the former home secretary

Profile: Sir John Stevens
17 Mar 04 |  UK
Blunkett quits as home secretary
15 Dec 04 |  UK Politics
Profile: David Blunkett
06 May 05 |  Election 2005

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