Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Thursday, 13 November 2008

'Agreement crucial' on Met chief

Jacqui Smith with Sir Ian Blair
Jacqui Smith said the mayor's role in Sir Ian's case was 'not appropriate'

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has said it is "very important" for London Mayor Boris Johnson and her to agree on the choice for the new police commissioner.

The current head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair, is stepping down next month after he resigned citing lack of support from the mayor.

He quit after Mr Johnson said the force needed a change of leadership.

Ms Smith said Mr Johnson's role in Sir Ian's case was not appropriate and they need to ensure effective policing.

And I very much hope that the appointment of the Commissioner is something we agree on before I make the recommendation
Jacqui Smith

Speaking to MPs on the Home Affairs select Committee, Ms Smith said she had the legal right to make the final decision by recommending a name to the Queen.

She said Sir Ian's successor should be appointed as soon as possible.

Ms Smith said: "I have made no secret of the fact that I was disappointed about the way in which he went.

'Agree on'

"I think it is very important that it is an appointment in which everybody can have the opportunity to have a say and to question and consider the candidates that come forward.

"And I very much hope that the appointment of the Commissioner is something we agree on before I make the recommendation."

Ms Smith also refused to comment on reports that Sir Ian will be leaving with a £400,000 payoff.

Mr Johnson said the Met needed new leadership when he took over as the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority in October, prompting Sir Ian to resign.



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