Blair resignation: Aftershocks continue

The aftershocks over Sir Ian Blair’s resignation as Britain top police officer continued this morning, with London mayor Boris Johnson forced to deny reports of a Tory plot to oust him.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Johnson described allegations of a plot to oust Sir Ian as “completely barking”.

“I came to this conclusion after a great deal of thought and after consulting a number of people,” he said.

Home secretary Jacqui Smith criticised the mayor last night, saying Mr Johnson had acted improperly.

The Met chief announced his decision to step down from office on Thursday, saying Mr Johnson no longer supported him.

The London mayor took over as chairman of the Metropolitan police authority on Wednesday and informed Sir Ian during a meeting that he sought fresh leadership at the police force.

Ms Smith, though, has claimed that Mr Johnson did not follow official protocol of seeking the home secretary’s approval.

Speaking on BBC’s Question Time last night, she said: “There’s a process in place that the mayor chose not to respect.

“The mayor said on the first day in his job he didn’t feel he had confidence in Sir Ian and that’s why he took the decision to resign.

“What is important when you are both choosing and when you’re supporting somebody that you’re asking to do a job like that is that you keep party politics out of it.”

Former Labour mayor Ken Livingstone also criticised the decision, claiming he regretted the “political decision”.

The Conservatives countered though, criticising Ms Smith for continuing to support Sir Ian after his decision to leave office.

Sir Ian’s three-and-a-half year reign as Met commissioner was blighted by controversy.

He was roundly condemned after claiming he did not understand why the Soham murder victims, Holly Chapman and Jessica Wells, had received so much media attention.

He also received wide-spread criticism over his handling of the shooting of Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station in July 2005.

Yesterday he announced he would officially leave the position on December 1st.