Yesterday’s elbowing of Ian Blair out of Scotland Yard was the first sign that Boris Johnson understands the implied power of his mandate. It’s been a long time coming and it’s very welcome.
After faffing around for months and palming off his duties to so-called deputies and trivialising himself with ‘design a bus’ competitions it was pleasing to see Boris take a firm stance and ensure his will would triumph.
As his predecessor knew, the powers of the Mayor are actually pretty slim and the only way to get anything done is to assert the moral authority of being directly elected with the biggest mandate in the UK.
It’s nothing short of insane that the directly elected Mayor of a world city lacks the ultimate say over the fate of the top cop.
Blair’s successor really should be the last to be appointed by the Home Secretary, it’s reprehensible that a minister who may not even represent a London seat can decide who will have operational control over our police force.
The Government refuses to cede control over the appointment on the grounds that the Met has national policing duties but the answer has always been clear – split the Met’s local policing responsibilities from the national obligations.
As for Boris, he emerges from this affair a bigger and more credible figure. It’s a no-brainer that his first outing next week as chair of the MPA will be a crowd puller.