Sadiq Khan has been blasted over “absurd” claims as the London Mayor faced a grilling on the resignation of Dame Cressida Dick. Giving evidence to the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee this morning, Mr Khan claimed the investigation into the departure of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner was biased.
The London Mayor’s comments sparked a fiery exchange with former Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Thomas Winsor, who carried out the review and was also giving evidence.
Mr Khan told the committee: “The view of me and others is that the process is flawed. The investigation is biased, ignored many facts.
“We all know it’s a matter of public record, Sir Tom’s close association with the former commissioner.
“We all know Sir Tom’s close association with former home secretaries. In Sir Tom’s own words, he’s given more weight to those of police officers than from others and the conclusions of Sir Tom weren’t a surprise to many.”
Hitting back, Sir Thomas dismissed Mr Khan’s claims as “absurd”.
He said: “The idea that the facts have been ignored – over 115 pages, facts have been gone into on a minute-by-minute detailed basis.
“They could not have been more painstakingly and subtly analysed.”
Sir Thomas said he had been to dinner once with Dame Cressida, and that as well as close associations with home secretaries he has links with a number of members of the Labour Party, of which Mr Khan is also a member.
Sir Thomas went on to accuse the London Mayor and members of his staff of failing to properly engage with the investigation until “a very late stage”.
He claimed they only responded to interview requests after being asked nine times.
Sir Thomas Winsor said that while Dame Cressida saw him for five hours face to face, he only had 90 minutes to interview Mr Khan, deputy mayor Sophie Linden and chief of staff David Bellamy at the same time.
He said his investigation was supposed to take six weeks but took 22 weeks because he had to extend his commission to make time to interview the London Mayor and his senior staff.
Mr Khan said he had provided “copious” amounts of written material, but that his staff had not had time to meet Sir Thomas before that point.
Sir Thomas was called in by then Home Secretary Priti Patel to assess the facts of what happened with Dame Cressida’s departure, whether the correct procedures had been followed and to make recommendations as to how the processes for the accountability of the Met Police Commissioner could be improved.
The report found Mr Khan committed an “abuse of power” by forcing Dame Cressida out of Scotland Yard.
Dame Cressida announced she was quitting in February when Mr Khan said he had lost confidence in her leadership and her last day in the role was in April.
Her resignation came in the wake of a series of scandals engulfing the Met Police including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens.
It also came shortly after the police watchdog published racist, misogynist and homophobic messages exchanged by Met officers.
And the force had faced criticism over its apparent hesitation to launch an investigation into partygate.