Met chief Cressida Dick is 'officer of superlative achievement', says minister – politics live

Good morning. As commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Dame Cressida Dick must be very aware that two of her three most recent predecessors, Sir Ian Blair and Sir Paul Stephenson, were forced to quit against their wishes after their conduct meant they lost the support of their political masters and yesterday, in the light of the controversy about the Met’s handling of the Sarah Everard vigil on Clapham Common, it looked as though she might be on course for an early exit too. In a statement issued last night Boris Johnson (who despatched Ian Blair when he was London mayor) said:

Like everyone who saw it I was deeply concerned about the footage from Clapham Common on Saturday night.

But Johnson also said in his statement that he had spoken to Dick, and that two reviews of the incident were underway, and this morning it is clear that support for the commissioner is firming up. Kit Malthouse, the policing minister, has been giving interviews this morning and he has backed her enthusiastically. He told BBC Breakfast:

Cressida Dick is an officer of superlative achievement in her life and she has been close to some incredibly successful investigations. I know that she is very dedicated and committed to this issue of dealing with violence against women and girls in as assertive a way as we possibly can.

And he told the Today programme:

Cressida Dick is a fount of knowledge, skill and expertise in us confronting violence against women and girls, and so when we sit down and meet later today to talk about this issue, I’ve no doubt she will have a huge amount to contribute.

In other words, the commissioner’s job is safe.

But that won’t end the narrow controversy about what happened on Clapham Common at the weekend, and the wider debates about why women still feel that the police and the criminal justice system don’t protect them properly, and how protests should be policed, both during Covid and later. These would be big issues anyway, but they have landed at the top of the news agenda on the day MPs start debating a mammoth piece of legislation addressing them.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: The ONS publishes a report on a year of coronavirus.

10.30am: Anas Sarwar gives his first major speech as the new Scottish Labour leader.

12pm: Downing Street is due to hold its lobby briefing.

12.15pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, is expected to hold a Covid briefing.

12.15pm: Kirsty Williams, the Welsh government’s education minister, holds a briefing.

After 2.30pm: Peers resume their debate on the domestic abuse bill. They are due to consider an amendment that would make misogyny a hate crime.

3.30pm: Priti Patel, the home secretary, is likely to make a Commons statement about the policing of the Sarah Everard vigil in Clapham on Saturday.

Afternoon: Patel is due to open the second reading debate on the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill. The debate will last two days, so MPs will vote tomorrow.

Late afternoon: Boris Johnson will chair a meeting of the government’s crime and justice taskforce to discuss further steps to protect women.

Recently Politics Live has mostly been focusing on Covid, but today I expect we will be mostly covering the fallout from the Sarah Everard vigil, and the debates provoked by that. For wider Covid coverage, here is our global coronavirus live blog.

I’m afraid we are going to have to keep comments turned off today. We have not taken that decision lightly – the comments are a highly valued feature of this blog – but the Sarah Everard case is subject to contempt of court proceedings, the media is being closely scrutinised and, given the large number of comments this blog normally attracts, we have judged that the risk of illegal comments getting posted and being seen is too high. I’m sorry about that.


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