Ed Davey and Luisa Porritt tell Patel and Khan they are accountable for “disgraceful and disproportionate” vigil policing

Having called for Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick’s resignation last night, Ed Davey and London mayoral candidate Luisa Porritt have written to both the Home Secretary Priti Patel and London Mayor Sadiq Khan to remind them of their accountability for last night’s events, too.

Dick, Khan and Patel have been showcasing their best buck-passing all day, but the truth is that they all have responsibility for the horrific events of last night.

Ed and Luisa have reminded them of that in no uncertain terms.

Here are their letters:

Dear Home Secretary,

I am writing to ask you to clarify what conversations you had with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner with regards to policing of the vigil on Clapham Common in memory of Sarah Everard on Saturday evening, ahead of Saturday evening.

The heavy-handed tactics used by the police – against women who were holding a peaceful vigil – were disgraceful and disproportionate.

It is clear that the Metropolitan Police got it seriously wrong, and I urge you to join the Liberal Democrats’ calls for Cressida Dick to resign. But responsibility for this also lies with you as Home Secretary.

Given the current circumstances, the high profile nature of the vigil and the significance of the issue at stake, the potential for things to go wrong was obvious. The Met’s refusal to facilitate a Covid-safe vigil and its decision to threaten the organisers with fines only increased that risk.

So can you please tell me what conversations you had with the Met Commissioner ahead of and/or during the vigil, and what if any advice you gave her?

If you did not speak to her beforehand, why not? Given the risks, surely it was your duty as Home Secretary to provide advice and reassurance?

Asking the Commissioner for reports and explanations after things have gone wrong is simply not good enough. The public and our police officers want the Home Secretary to be held to account as well.

I look forward to your response at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Davey
Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Luisa Porritt
Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London

Dear Sadiq Khan,

I am writing to ask you to clarify what conversations you had with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner with regards to policing of the vigil on Clapham Common in memory of Sarah Everard on Saturday evening, ahead of Saturday evening.

The heavy-handed tactics used by the police – against women who were holding a peaceful vigil – were disgraceful and disproportionate.

It is clear that the Metropolitan Police got it seriously wrong, and I urge you to join the Liberal Democrats’ calls for Cressida Dick to resign. But responsibility for this also lies with you as Mayor.

Given the current circumstances, the high profile nature of the vigil and the significance of the issue at stake, the potential for things to go wrong was obvious. The Met’s refusal to facilitate a Covid-safe vigil and its decision to threaten the organisers with fines only increased that risk.

So can you please tell me what conversations you had with the Met Commissioner ahead of and/or during the vigil, and what if any advice you gave her?

If you did not speak to her beforehand, why not? Given the risks, surely it was your duty as Mayor to provide advice and reassurance?

Asking the Commissioner for reports and explanations after things have gone wrong is simply not good enough. The public and our police officers want the Mayor of London to be held to account as well.

I look forward to your response at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Davey
Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Luisa Porritt
Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London

 

I am beyond livid about the whole thing. The irony of a protest at men’s violence towards women being broken up by male police officers dragging women away is too painful. As a feminist, I am horrified at the treatment of women and the insensitive response to the outpouring of grief and concern over the past year. As a liberal, I am apprehensive and pretty disgusted at the disregard by everyone involved for civil liberties and the protection of that most fundamental of rights – to protest.

One good thing has come out of today. Andy wrote this morning about the bonfire of liberties that is the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. At least Labour have now been shamed into opposing it. However, with a Government majority of 80, it appears likely to go through unless there is sufficient outcry in the country.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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12 Comments

  • Helen Dudden 14th Mar '21 - 9:05pm

    The way policing has produced a situation that is frightening and not justified, is not acceptable.

  • Little Jackie Paper 14th Mar '21 - 11:46pm

    The way authoritarian government has produced a situation that is frightening and not justified, is not acceptable.

  • John Marriott 15th Mar '21 - 7:42am

    Actually members of Parliament also have some responsibility for not insisting on being able properly to scrutinise and suggest amending if necessary parts of the legislation, which was used to justify the policing of the ‘event’ and which are clearly open to misinterpretation.

  • Brad Barrows 15th Mar '21 - 9:48am

    I was told that Ed Davey voted in favour of the laws the police were trying to enforce? Can anyone confirm or refute that suggestion?

  • YouGov poll does not back us, it identifies the problem as being with those who felt they had to demonstrate at a time like this when we are trying to get rid of the virus. Once again are we out of line with mainsteam thinking, we need to back horses that will win us votes, otherwise the continued life in the wilderness will remain forever.

  • Little Jackie Paper 15th Mar '21 - 11:36am

    John Marriott.

    It’s not a democracy. No, there is no scrutiny – that’s all passe now. Can you really not see it?

    If you back lockdown restrictions and the Coronavirus Act then you back what happened at Clapham. There is no but.

    It’s only three weeks to flatten the curve.

  • I cant see how this is Sadiq Khan’s fault. I’d prefer for Davey to concentrate his fire on the Tories. They have been in power 10 years and some of the reforms they made and police cuts in the first 5 years were enabled by the Lib Dems.

  • John Mottram 16th Mar '21 - 9:17am

    To call for the resignation of the first woman to lead the Metropolitan Police over ‘misogyny’ is clearly mis-guided and off the mark. The current and previous Governments who have under funded Local Authorities and cut resources to local communities, should be the targets not the police put into an invidious and no win situation.

  • “The current and previous Governments who have under funded Local Authorities and cut resources to local communities”.

    Now……….. , let’s have a good think about who was in the UK Cabinet when local government funding was cut by 27% the five year period they were in office..

  • John Marriott 16th Mar '21 - 12:17pm

    Yes, David Raw, you can’t have it both ways and, no, John Mottram, if someone is found wanting, regardless of gender, those who think so should call them out. Please, let’s have a level playing field.

    This ‘make it up as you go along’ government appears to be increasing in popularity, thanks probably largely to do with vaccine delivery, if you believe the opinion polls. What does that say about the opposition or the majority of the electorate for that matter?

    ‘Little Jackie’s’ comments about authoritarian governments remind me of the days of empire, when the British government expected obedience from its colonies. I remember an old agency photo depicting the previous Prince of Wales being driven in an open top limo past a crowd of white robed citizens of Aden displaying the banner, which read ‘Tell daddy we are happy under British Rule’. If you drill down, I am sure that you will find a large number of people in this country who would accept any form of government as long as they could lead their lives undisturbed. The Pastor Niemöller quote inevitably comes to mind.

  • Laurence Cox 16th Mar '21 - 2:07pm

    Mike Hill, the Hartlepool MP, who is accused of sexual harrassment, has resigned.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/mar/16/hartlepool-labour-mp-mike-hill-resigns-with-immediate-effect

    The Guardian don’t link back to their coverage of the original story, which is here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jan/22/labour-mp-fails-in-bid-to-remain-anonymous-in-sexual-assault-case

    The Hartlepool by-election is going to be very interesting.

  • Alex Macfie 21st Mar '21 - 4:28pm

    theakes: There was once a majority in favour of the Iraq War. And our job isn’t to fall in line with “mainsteam thinking”, as the “mainstream” is a crowded field. No point in us being a mini-me of the Tories because we think they and their position are “popular”. It’s against oiur principles, and it may not be popular in a year’s time.

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