Met jumps to mayor’s defence over Stockwell shooting inquiry

London mayoral challengers have questioned the motives behind the delayed publication of a police inquiry report into the Stockwell tube shooting.

The Metropolitan police insisted today the delay was not motivated by “political reasons” and claimed the inquiry into the death of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes were guilty of a “gross misinterpretation”.

Brazilian Mr De Menezes was shot dead by Metropolitan police at Stockwell tube station on July 22nd 2005 after he was mistaken for a suicide bomber.

The Evening Standard newspaper suggested the release was being delayed to spare Met commissioner Sir Ian Blair embarrassment and because of “political reasons”.

Such allegations are false, the Met says, adding the timetable for the report’s completion “has slipped due to the huge volumes of evidence presented”.

“The panel members unanimously decided to extend the timetable for the production of the report,” the statement added.

“The report is not yet written, work is ongoing and we will present the report to the full [Metropolitan Police] Authority before the summer. The report will be publicly available.”

Challenging candidates for the London mayoralty condemned the report’s delay, however.

Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick, who has criticised Sir Ian’s handling of the shooting of Mr De Menezes on July 22nd 2005, was vocal in his opposition to the delay.

“The only reason to delay this report would be if it were critical of the commissioner and by association the mayor, bearing in mind Ken Livingstone’s unswerving support for Sir Ian Blair,” Mr Paddick said.

“Londoners deserve to know the truth. If this report has been withheld for political purposes, this proves there is need for radical change in the way London and the Metropolitan Police Authority are led.”

Conservative candidate Boris Johnson said the report should be released immediately if it is complete.

“On behalf of the voters in London, I demand the report is released today,” he said.

“Nothing is more important at this election than the issue of crime. the performance of the Metropolitan police, its commissioner and the mayor [are] something the public deserve to know.”