The Metropolitan Police Authority – reinstated after protests from the “Progressive Alliance” – is now in session. Mayor Boris Johnson is in the Chair and 20 of the 23 members are present. The intention is that the meeting should last no more than an hour and the Mayor greeted those members mustering for City Hall coffee before the meeting started with “This shouldn””””t take long”. Nevertheless, there is no sign that there are any fewer questions being asked of the Commissioner on his monthly update report and - as is now usual – this is the main item on the Authority”s agenda.
Jenny Jones AM sought an assurance that meetings would not be cancelled in future (the Mayor mumbled in response and Uber Vice Chairman Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse AM fiddled with his two Blackberries and appeared not to hear). She then sought to criticise the Metropolitan Police for “being too slick and efficient” in reviewing the material in respect of the News of the World phone hacking allegations so quickly The Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and Assistant Commissioner John Yates obviously thought they couldn””””t win on that one. However, the incisiveness for which Jenny Jones is famous was then on display when she referred to what News international said on the subject with the clear implication that therefore it must be true.
This led – rather tangentially – to Clive Lawton suggesting that it should not automatically be a serious disciplinary offence for police officers to sell information to the newspapers. No-one else seemed to agree and Uber Vice Chairman Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse AM growled that MPA members who leaked information should expect to go to prison.
All in all, it was right that the Authority had its meeting, but there were no fireworks – so much so that the Guardian correspondent, Dave Hill (who seemed to be imposing a cruel and unusual punishment on his children by making them sit through the meeting with him) left after 45 minutes.