London mayor Sadiq Khan in 'tetchy exchanges' with Tom Winsor over Cressida Dick's resignation

Sadiq Khan told the London Assembly "the process is flawed" - tap below to watch video report by Simon Harris

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Sir Thomas Winsor have been involved in tetchy exchanges as they face questions over the resignation of former Metropolitan Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick.

Mr Khan began his evidence to the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee on Wednesday by claiming that Sir Thomas’s investigation on how Dame Cressida’s departure was handled was biased.

'Investigation is biased'

He told members: “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.”

In response Sir Thomas dismissed the claims from Sadiq Khan as "absurd"

Sir Tom Winsor told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee: “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 that Mayor Sadiq Khan and members of his staff had failed to properly engage with the investigation until “a very late stage”, and only responded to interview requests after being asked nine times.

He told the committee that he had only 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 Winsor said that while Dame Cressida saw him for five hours face to face, he only had 90 minutes to interview Sadiq Khan, deputy mayor Sophie Linden and chief of staff David Bellamy at the same time.

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 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.

During awkward exchanges, the mayor repeatedly listed scandals that have beset the Met in recent years, including the murder of Sarah Everard, the stop and search of British athlete Bianca Williams, the strip search of Child Q, failings around the unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan and serial killer Stephen Port.

'Frankly beside the point'

Sir Thomas said that most of those events happened before Mr Khan asked the Home Secretary to give Dame Cressida Dick a three-year extension to her contract, rather than the two years granted in September 2021.

He told the committee for Mr Khan “to reel off these other terrible things is frankly beside the point”.

Sir Thomas was called in by then home secretary Priti Patel to assess the facts of what happened, whether the correct procedures had been followed and to make recommendations as to how the processes for the accountability of the Met commissioner could be improved.

Sadiq Khan said after he had asked for Dame Cressida Dick to have a three-year extension to her contract as Met Police commissioner, full details around the murder of Sarah Everard became clear, the force faced heavy criticism during the inquest into the deaths of the victims of serial killer Stephen Port, and information about deeply offensive messages shared by officers based at Charing Cross was published by a watchdog.

Sir Thomas Winsor, who claimed in his report that Mr Khan had not followed due process around Dame Cressida’s departure, told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee the mayor should have given the then-commissioner notice in writing of his grounds for seeking her removal from her job.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and Sir Thomas Winsor appear before a Police and Crime Committee at City Hall Credit: PA

He also said Mr Khan should have written to the Inspectorate of Constabulary to ask for their opinion, have given the commissioner a hearing and asked for the approval of the Home Secretary, but did none of those things, Sir Thomas said.

Mr Khan maintains that he went above what was required of him by law.

The committee was told that during a meeting on the day that Dame Cressida resigned, the mayor’s chief of staff suggested to her that should she resign in April, at the end of her existing contract, the mayor would publicly emphasise all she had achieved in her job.

“He also suggested she would receive six months’ pay, but no more.

Sir Thomas said this was “part of the pressure that was being applied to the commissioner to persuade her to resign without invoking the statutory process”.

Details of deeply offensive racist, misogynist and homophobic messages shared by officers based at Charing Cross being published by a watchdog in January after an investigation called Operation Hotton were “the straw that broke the camel’s back”, London mayor Sadiq Khan said.

He told the London Assembly committee that a plan put forward by the former commissioner to solve problems in the force on February 4 was “simply not good enough”.

During one meeting to discuss the plan, Mr Khan used words to the effect that “one or other of us is going to end up being substituted”.

The report accuses Mr Khan of having tried to pressure Dame Cressida Dick into sacking officers involved in Operation Hotton who were still serving, which would have been unlawful.

Mr Khan said that he suggested that the force get independent legal advice about what additional options may be available and whether the correct decisions had been made.

On February 10, Dame Cressida initially told journalists that she had no intention of resigning.

But Sir Thomas said that pressure on her from the Mayor and his staff built through the day, and eventually at around 5pm she was given an ultimatum and an hour to decide whether to quit.

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