- Boris Johnson claimed police were “the victims” of original inquiry
- Questioned whether new probe is waste of “time and money”
- Suggested racial awareness training is distraction from policing
Boris Johnson called a prospective inquiry into the Met Police spying operation on the grieving family of Stephen Lawrence a potential waste of “time and a lot of money”. He made the remarks to a committee of MPs after having previously called the police “the victims of the Macpherson report” into police handling of the racist murder.
The mayor of London — who oversees the Metropolitan Police — told the Home Affairs Committee last July:
“I think there are arguments both ways about a public inquiry. The risk is that you would spend a lot of time and a lot of money without casting much light on it.”
Despite having broken an election pledge to chair the Met Police Authority, Boris instead suggested a probe headed up by, errr, his own office of policing.
But with the Ellison inquiry laying bare the web of corruption around the original Lawrence inquiry yesterday — including placing an undercover source in the Lawrence family camp — Boris was nowhere to be seen. Instead he trotted out a spokesman to comment on the behaviour of “the victims”, ahem sorry, police:
“The report contains profound and disturbing findings related to the Stephen Lawrence investigation and subsequent inquiries.”
This evasiveness should come as no surprise from a man who suggested that racial awareness programmes were a waste of police time.
In 2011 he went on a bike-riding photo call with Arnold Schwarzenegger instead of chairing a meeting about the controversial death of a black singer in police custody.
Still on his skiing holiday in Italy, Scrapbook reported yesterday on the bizarre delay in London’s mayor issuing a statement on the Stephen Lawrence trial — but perhaps his previous statements can explain why.
Boris Johnson has stated that the police are the “victims” of the Macpherson report into the murder and claimed that reforms flowing from the inquiry meant police “were all stuck on racial awareness programmes”. The mayor even called vital evidence given by Lawrence’s best friend Duwayne Brooks, who was with him when he died and is now a councillor in Lewisham, “unreliable”.
In a series of articles for the Telegraph and Spectator from 1999 to 2002, Johnson casts the Lawrence case and the Macpherson report as a left-wing witchhunt against the establishment and police:
“It is an article of faith on the Left that those five, seen on video engaging in racist rants, were guilty, and that only police incompetence failed to nab them. I am not sure how far Macpherson shares that assumption.”
In January 2010, Boris Johnson quit as chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority despite his election manifesto pledge to chair the body which oversees the police in London. The fact of his ambivalence towards difficult policing issues was brought into painful relief last March when he went on a bike-riding photo call with Arnold Schwarzenegger instead of chairing a meeting about the controversial death of a black singer in police custody.
Perhaps Boris should give the residents of Eltham a recap on his views.