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Tensions between Home Secretary and London Mayor as Met Police chief quits

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T

he Home Secretary and Mayor of London have clashed over the departure of Dame Cressida Dick after she was forced out as Metropolitan Police Commissioner on Thursday.

Dame Cressida quit after losing the support of Sadiq Khan over her plan to reform the force following a string of scandals and accusations of a toxic working culture.

It is understood the beleaguered Met chief was called to a meeting with the Mayor at 4.30pm on Thursday over the reforms but declined to attend and offered her resignation instead, catching the Home Office by surprise.

The PA news agency understands Mr Khan did not inform the Home Secretary of his intention to request a meeting with the commissioner.

According to Home Office sources, Ms Patel was not impressed by this and thought it was “rude and unprofessional”.

Ms Patel will oversee the appointment of the new commissioner and more details on how she will set about searching for a replacement are expected to be confirmed in due course.

She has final decision on the next appointment, although the process requires her to consult Mr Khan as Mayor, who said he would be “working closely” with the Home Secretary to find a successor.

The search for a replacement by Ms Patel comes as the Met is investigating Government officials over lockdown-busting Downing Street parties, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

He is expected to be among more than 50 individuals in No 10 and Whitehall who will by the end of this week start receiving legal questionnaires from officers working on Operation Hillman.

The Met, which was heavily criticised for an apparent hesitation to launch a probe into the alleged parties, said the investigation continues as normal and remains under the control of Commander Catherine Roper.

The PA news agency understands Home Secretary Priti Patel was unaware of the Mayor’s request to meet Dame Cressida (Stefan Rousseau/PA) / PA Archive

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