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Mayor denies not following due process on Cressida Dick's exit

The Mayor of London has appeared before the London Assembly after a Home Office ordered review concluded he effectively 'constructively dismissed' Cressida Dick

Sadiq Khan has denied any wrongdoing around the departure of former Met Commissioner Cressida Dick, after a review concluded that she was effectively “constructively dismissed” by the Mayor of London.

Mr Khan was summonsed to appear before the London Assembly this morning (November 16) to answer questions around his actions in the period leading up to Dame Cressida's resignation on February 10.

The Home Office ordered review, undertaken by former Chief HMI Sir Tom Winsor, concluded that "due process was not followed" by the Mayor of London and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) - resulting in Dame Cressida's resignation.

Sir Tom's report found that on February 10, the Mayor's office told the then commissioner that he would make it clear publicly that he had lost confidence in her leadership unless she attended a meeting that day with a better plan for restoring public confidence in the Met.

It also found that those acting on behalf of Mr Khan told the commissioner that he intended to commence the statutory removal process that afternoon.

Dame Cressida was given one hour to decide what to do. She did not attend that meeting, with Mr Khan asked this morning whether this precipitated his view that she could not continue.

He told the Assembly's Police and Crime Committee: "If on February 10 she’s not coming to meet with me, and she’s saying her plan is fait accompli – that’s not good enough."

Sir Tom replied by saying that, while he believes Dame Cressida should have attended, she was "entitled to reach" the view that Mr Khan did not want a constructive dialogue.

"I think the commissioner thought that if she went that 4pm meeting on the 10th she would be humiliated," he told members.

Referencing Mr Khan's claim that he went "above and beyond" due process, Sir Tom told the committee that there were a number of steps he did not follow.

He explained that the Mayor should have given the then-commissioner notice in writing of his grounds for seeking her removal from her job, written to the Inspectorate of Constabulary to ask for their opinion, given the commissioner a hearing and asked for the approval of the Home Secretary.

“He did none of those things," Sir Tom said. Mr Khan replied: "Sir Tom is wrong. The reason Sir Tom is wrong is because we never invoked the statutory process."

The committee was told that during a meeting on the day Dame Cressida resigned, Mr Khan's chief of staff suggested to her that should she resign at the end of her existing contract in April, the Mayor would publicly emphasise her achievements in post.

He also suggested she would receive six months’ pay, but no more. Mr Khan denied any knowledge of such conversations, claiming: “In real time, my focus was the 4pm meeting."

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

In light of these circumstances, his report recommended that future commissioners terms of employment should be issued by the Home Secretary, not the Mayor.

Another point of contention was the level of engagement in the review process of Cressida Dick's departure.

While Mr Khan stressed that he and his office "fully cooperated", Sir Tom argued that an investigation which was meant to take six weeks took 22 weeks, “predominantly because the Mayor and MOPAC failed properly to engage”.

Sir Tom claimed that, after first writing to the Mayor on April 7, he made eight further requests for interview which were ignored until Mr Khan saw a letter outlining "the gist of my conclusions".

He said it was only at that point that the Mayor "suddenly" demanded to be interviewed, necessitating "a second extension in time of the commission because the date that he offered for interview was after the expiry of the already-extended commission".

Sir Tom also took issue with the time he was given to interview the Mayor, his deputy and chief of staff.

"In spite of the Mayor’s central role in all of this, I got only 90 minutes at the very end of the process – and that was to interview three people, not one," he told members, comparing this to the five-hour slot afforded to him by Dame Cressida.

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