Lib Dems tell Cressida Dick to resign

I have been a bit worried of late that the Lib Dems, at least in England, have been a bit bland and have been pulling the punches they should have landed.

Well, credit where it’s due. After the utterly disgraceful scenes on Clapham Common tonight, Alistair Carmichael, Luisa Porritt and Ed Davey have written to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick to tell her she should resign.

Here is their letter:

Dear Commissioner,

The scenes this evening of the policing of the Clapham Common vigil in memory of Sarah Everard are utterly disgraceful and shame the Metropolitan Police.

The vigil this evening was a peaceful one brought together in the most horrific of circumstances.

Across the country, countless women have told their own painful stories of harassment and abuse. Your officers should have been standing in solidarity with those on Clapham Common tonight not being ordered to disrupt this display of grief and peaceful protest.

This was a complete abject tactical and moral failure on the part of the Police.

We therefore call on you to consider your leadership of the service and whether you can continue to have the confidence of the millions of women in London that you have a duty to safeguard and protect.

Yours sincerely ,

Ed Davey MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Luisa Porritt, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London

Alistair Carmichael MP, Spokesperson for Home Affairs

That her force refused to let the vigil go ahead under Covid secure conditions was in any event a bad look, but to do so when one of their own members stands accused of her murder made the optics even worse.

This is the right response from the leadership of this country’s liberal party. We needed to step up and we have done so. And we have not been subtle. I am impressed.

And already this is getting traction in the media – it’s in the lead item on Sky News.

 

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

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30 Comments

  • Little Jackie Paper 13th Mar '21 - 11:13pm

    Ok lockdown supporting liberals – now can you see what might just be the problem with unfettered state power. No police kneeling on this one. Giving up liberty for security results in….

    If you backed lockdown this is the slippery slope you put us on and there is no way back. This is what us and our kids have now for decades. Cheers. I’ll head for my doorstep and give you a slow clap.

    Now can you see why vaccine backdoor ID cards might, just might be a smidge of a worry?

  • Exactly right Caron.

  • Renata Jackson 14th Mar '21 - 12:59am

    The High Court ruled clearly on this. Is it now LibDem policy that those who defy court orders and break the law should not face consequences? Apparently, it is.

  • Andrew Tampion 14th Mar '21 - 7:10am

    Renata Jackson. Even if the law is clear the Police always have discretion about enforcement. They could have issued a warning or taken names to follow up later. There was no need to handcuff women and take them to a police cell.
    But why does the final paragraph refer to the Police losing the confidence of women in London. This is not a gender matter. I don’t live in London but this has deminished my confidence in the Metropolitan Police. Although I’ve never thought much of Cressida Dick since the Jean Charles De Menezes affair.

  • Brad Barrows 14th Mar '21 - 8:00am

    So people deny covid restrictions and a court order that they should not gather, get warned by police that they should disperse and ignore that as well, and then complain when they get arrested. Oh, and the Liberal Democrats blame the police.

  • @Andrew Tampion. This was an illegal gathering. Whether such gatherings should be illegal at this time is another debate. The police, I read, asked the crowd to disperse but those present did not respond. The police should then have dispersed the crowd with minimal force. I agree the use of handcuffs was unnecessary, unless the individuals involved had offered resistance. Women can hit policemen, you know. The most serious scuffling I saw involved police and young men. Were they there to support there sisters or to provoke a scrap with the police ? Well I’ll let you decide that one.

  • What a mess.

    Interesting to compare the actions of the Met yesterday with the sensible discretion shown in Glasgow last week.

  • Ruth Bright 14th Mar '21 - 8:48am

    David as Jayne Secker has just pointed out on Sky it is interesting that hundreds are allowed to gather during lockdown without intervention when it is about football.

  • Nonconformistradical 14th Mar '21 - 8:53am

    From CNN
    https://edition.cnn.com/2021/03/13/world/sarah-everard-vigil/index.html
    “”It doesn’t look good for the Met tonight does it?” said one man being moved on. “Just leave these people to have their moment,” he shouted.

    Everard’s death has prompted that moment — a moment of national reckoning on women’s rights in the UK, long overdue, and calls for new laws recognizing misogyny as a hate crime.

    Countless Londoners have this week asked themselves why it took a young women’s senseless death for the outpouring of indignation to finally burst forth.

    The answer may lie in how swiftly the vigil was silenced on Saturday.”

  • Little Jackie Paper 14th Mar '21 - 9:04am

    Ruth Bright

    I have zero sympathy for that argument. If you want CCP style government this is what you get. If you back lockdown and liberty-abolishing restrictions then this is what you have brought on you, me and everyone else.

    You either oppose this in full – muzzles, distancing, shutdown the lot – or you own it and the CCP stuff that it implies.

    CanI see the vaccine certificate that gives you the limited freedom to protest please? And if you misbehave the certificate can be rescinded. That’s our future.

    It’s only three weeks to flatten the curve.

  • John Marriott 14th Mar '21 - 9:17am

    As W S Gilbert famously wrote; “A policeman’s lot is not a happy one”. Yes, the statistics of crimes against women are horrendous but clearly, given the High Court Judge’s ruling, and in the middle of a pandemic, the ‘vigil’ should have been deferred until a time when public safety would not be threatened. We either have laws or we have anarchy. As for the ‘celebrations’ in Scotland etc, that just shows how inconsistently the ‘law’ on gatherings is currently being interpreted.

    In this instance could it be that the alleged perpetrator of the dreadful murder of an innocent young lady appearing to be one of their own have made the rôle of the police in dealing with what was judged to be an ‘illegal’ gathering even more difficult? Equally, if people seek protection under the law then surely they should have a duty to respect the law themselves?

  • Yet again this party have targetted the wrong person…The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick was dammned if her force allowed an unlawful gathering and damned when they tried to enforce ‘distancing’…
    The target should be the hypocritical actions of Priti Patel…She has been notorious for trying to curtail all public demonstrations/protests; her comments on environmental and ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstations are disturbing to say the least.. Last September she wrote to the head of HMICFRS, dated last September “I would like to know … what steps the government could take to ensure the police have the right powers and capabilities to respond to protests.”

    Today this same Home Secretary is demanding a ‘full explanation’ of police action..

    Joining her on this is NOT the right line of attack..

  • Nonconformistradical 14th Mar '21 - 10:05am

    @Expats
    I’m as ready as you to criticise Priti Patel – however…

    The buck stops with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

    (I do admit that whenever I see the present Commissioner on TV the name Jean Charles de Menezes comes to mind).

    From time to time the concept of ‘policing by consent’ arises. I personally perceive that on this occasion from what I’ve seen on TV I could see little evidence of the Met paying heed to it.

  • Little Jackie Paper 14th Mar '21 - 10:07am

    Expats – look at the comments in this thread. They want this to be broken up – that is the society we now live in. Patel us doing what the public want. It is the only logic here – lockdown = vigil not allowed. If you want this vigil by definition you must oppose lockdown.

    I think that this lockdown is insane to be clear and I have bitterly, bitterly opposed all of this since day 1 precisely because this is ths slippery slope to tyranny. Just hiding behind scientific credentials and twitter-friendly journalism. Born yesterday liberals are just oblivious. What will it take to make you see the direction of travel here.

    You might kill granny if you are alive.

  • Nonconformistradical 14th Mar '21 - 10:35am

    It appears a public vigil was able to take place in Nottingham
    https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/nottingham-news/nottingham-falls-silent-sarah-everard-5165807
    “The Nottingham vigil was co-ordinated by Nottingham Women for Change and Nottingham People’s Assembly in the city, who said “extensive preparations” were made to ensure the event was safe, socially distanced, and effectively managed.

    Two police officers were spotted among the crowd as they watched proceedings unfold but did not intervene while Nottinghamshire Live was at the vigil.”

    OK – this was a smaller vigil than Clapham – but the principle is that it ought to have been possible for such an event to take place in a major city without the police intervening and handcuffing people coming to pay their respects.

  • Helen Dudden 14th Mar '21 - 10:40am

    I feel increasingly uncomfortable, with the heavy policing policy we have at present.
    Priti Patel, also wants the Death Penalty brought back into law.
    It must be so difficult for the family at this time, on the very sad loss.
    Society is very troubled, being in lock down for a year is causing problems, the government need to address in a compassionate understanding way, if that were possible. I doubt it.

  • Paul Barker 14th Mar '21 - 1:22pm

    I was really glad to see Our prompt response to this, The Met chose the worst possible response & Their Boss should be sacked – that principle of Responsibility needs to be re-established.

  • The role of the police is to enforce the law, and not to ensure public health. It was therefore dishonest of AC Helen Ball to claim “We absolutely did not want to be in a position where enforcement action was necessary. But we were placed in this position because of the overriding need to protect people’s safety.” As far as I can tell, it is currently not a lawful excuse to leave your home in order to place flowers at a memorial, but the police did not take any action when the Duchess of Cambriedge did this earlier in the day.

  • Ruth Bright 14th Mar '21 - 2:09pm

    Little Jackie Paper – happy to engage with you when you use your own name like almost everyone else on this site.

  • Andrew Tampion 14th Mar '21 - 3:38pm

    Chris Cory:
    So Harry Willcock should have produced his National Identity Card in 1952?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Willcock
    By your argument Identity cards introduced as an “emergemcy measure” in 1939 would still be in force in 2021.

  • I think the letter actually misses a very important point.
    The vigil was for a woman whose death it seems a male police officer was responsible for, and in support of reclaiming the streets (for women). It made sense for Cressida Dick to have given the direction that the Common, should on this evening, where court order/no court order women would be gathering in one way or another, be policed by women officers, with man officers being available but kept at arm’s length.
    Thus the letter should have clearly chastised her for the insensitivity of putting male officers on crowd duties for this unofficial event/gathering.

  • I see the Great Leader, one de Pfeffel Johnson, has ventured out to make a public comment on vaccination. According to the BBC,

    “It shows that the great British spirit that saw us through so much adversary in the past, lives on in us today.”

    Can’t even get his adjectives right despite all the huge expense of Eton and Oxford. On last night ? Nowt.

  • Tony Greaves 14th Mar '21 - 6:01pm

    “A bit bland”, Caron? You are too kind. But hit home on this one.

  • Roland 14th Mar ’21 – 4:54pm……………The vigil was for a woman whose death it seems a male police officer was responsible for, and in support of reclaiming the streets (for women). It made sense for Cressida Dick to have given the direction that the Common, should on this evening, where court order/no court order women would be gathering in one way or another, be policed by women officers, with man officers being available but kept at arm’s length.Thus the letter should have clearly chastised her for the insensitivity of putting male officers on crowd duties for this unofficial event/gathering…………

    But there weren’t just women at the gathering…News programms have shown the police being ‘attacked’ by both sexes.. There were those there who had little, if any, regard for a ‘vigil’ and who were intent on provoking the police.. I don’t doubt that the police overacted in some cases but to compare them to the SPG and their politicising during the Thatcher years is unwarranted..

  • @Expats – Yes I saw the News programmes on various channels showing largely the same footage, edited to show the “highlights”. Also there is footage on YouTube etc. however, it does seem that where things went wrong was after the Police decided on a particular course of direct intervention and thus set themselves up as targets for those, largely young men (ho hum), intending to provoke the police.

    > but to compare them to the SPG and their politicising during the Thatcher years is unwarranted.
    Not seen those reports, but in general comparing to the SPG is one thing; equating what happen to how the SPG would have handled matters is another.

  • Richard Underhill.. 15th Mar '21 - 10:36am

    15th Mar ’21 – 9:28am
    England – France was good, Wales – Italy was one-sided,

  • Antony Watts 15th Mar '21 - 11:43am

    Ed, you are wrong. Cressida has done a superb job at the London Met. Calls for heads to roll is a gut reaction and quite stupid.

    What needs to happen is to ask why the protest happened, what laws parliament passed against it which are simply the job of the police to enforce.

    Make good laws, flood social cohesion and such event will not happen.

  • Roland 15th Mar ’21 – 12:45am……………[email protected] – Yes I saw the News programmes on various channels showing largely the same footage, edited to show the “highlights”.. Also there is footage on YouTube etc. however, it does seem that where things went wrong was after the Police decided on a particular course of direct intervention and thus set themselves up as targets for those, largely young men (ho hum), intending to provoke the police………….

    So the headline photo on all the media showing a woman being handcuffed wasn’t an ‘edited highlight’?
    As for your last sentence..’Chicken and Egg’..What came first, police intervention or provocation? I don’t know; do you?

  • @Expats – “’Chicken and Egg’..What came first, police intervention or provocation? I don’t know; do you?”
    Well I suggest a contributor to the events of Saturday, was the decision to hold a vigil and then cancel it, with announcements leaving the impression that the cancellation was due to police/’establishment’ pressure etc.

    What is troubling is that last summer with the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, with so much that could have gone (badly) wrong, it would seem that the police got their approach right and they were largely trouble-free.

  • Ed Davey got a mention in the Bangkok Post on this story.

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