The First Post : Mayor Boris Johnson steals credit for Bob Quick’s departure

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Mayor Boris Johnson steals credit for Bob Quick’s departure

April 9, 2009

Boris Johnson lost little time getting himself onto the Today programme this morning to talk about Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick's resignation. One could have been forgiven for thinking the London mayor was in the lead on all this. But not so.

In fact, it appears that, not for the first time, the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is well and truly fed up with the mayor over his behaviour in relation to something that was primarily a decision for her and, most importantly, the Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson.

Technically, it is to the Met Police Authority - led by Johnson as mayor - that Quick offered his resignation last night following the fiasco he began by strolling into Downing Street clutching a top secret operational document, available for all to read.

But the wheels had been put in motion yesterday afternoon when Quick met Smith and they agreed his position was untenable. It was then a matter of going through the correct procedures, with the ultimate responsibility falling to Sir Paul.

Yet a breathless Boris suddenly popped up on Today to 'steal' the headlines by saying he had accepted the resignation. Numerous media interviews then followed. Smith, it is fair to say, was not happy.

Meanwhile shadow home secretary Chris Grayling was all over the media admitting there had been "issues" between Quick and the Conservative party ever since last year's controversial Damian Green arrest, which Quick had authorised. At one stage, following a story in the Mail on Sunday about his wife Judith running a wedding car service from their home, Quick suggested there was a Tory dirty tricks campaign against him, but he later retracted the allegation.

Nonetheless, Grayling insisted these "issues" had not affected his view of Quick and he went on to say it was not up to him to demand the cop's resignation.

"Politicians should always be wary about marching in and saying somebody must go," he told Sky News. But he then added that, if Quick was not sacked, the Home Secretary and Met Chief would have to explain why they felt he was up to the job.

All concerned, of course, insist neither politics nor revenge played any part in Quick's departure this morning, but it is difficult not to recall the old saying that revenge is a dish best served cold.