Met Commissioner job is now mixed up in Tory arrest constitutional row

Adds Dec 1 Acting Met chief could step aside in Damian Green leak row.
I often relish the moment when someone stands out against the crowd, even in a cause I don’t agree with. Thus in the amazing case of the arrest of Tory home affairs spokesman Damian Green, the great constitutional authority Vernon Bogdanor whom I know and greatly respect and who was once David Cameron’s tutor has pointed out that parliamentary privilege applies only to MPs’ speeches in Parliament and not to their offices and homes. That’s not to say that Green’s arrest was either wise or right. Some see the decision to arrest Green as Ian Blair’s Revenge against the Tories, while the appointment of Blair’s successor has become embroiled in the escalating row.

(Acting Met Commissioner Sir Paul) Stephenson should have told Sir David Normington, the Home Office permanent secretary who called in police, that leaks of nonclassified information were not a matter for a police inquiry.Normington will chair the panel that will interview and vet applicants for the job of Met commissioner. The deadline for applications is tomorrow.

This may shift the odds away from Stephenson succeeding Blair as Met Commissioner and towards Sir Hugh Orde. I would have discounted Orde’s chances partly on grounds of age ( at 50, he could have another crack at it) and because of his long time affair, a subject that will have rocketed into prominence whatever the difference in scale, since the suspected suicide of Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Mike Todd.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London