Returning to Nadhim Zahawi, the Liberal Democrats resumed calls for his resignation. “The Conservative Party is stuck in an endless cycle of disorder and chaos, while the country suffers from a cost of living and NHS crisis,” Margaret Cooper, said the Lib Dem deputy leader. “What more will it take for Sunak to finally do the right thing and fire Zahawi, or at least suspend him for the duration of this investigation?”
Rowley says the Met is now looking at previous cases where there were complaints about officers. He wonders if the right decisions were made.
He says the press reported this as 1,000 new cases. But these are not new cases, he said.
He says the Met is also looking at the verification process.
Some officers will have criminal convictions. These are recorded, and they are not always a cause for concern, he says. He says if someone is convicted of cannabis possession at the age of 13, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be a police officer.
But the force is now reviewing officers who may have been the subject of other complaints.
He says the Met is constrained by the layoff rules. The government is looking into the matter, and the Met itself is considering whether it can push the rules further to address this issue.
But he says ‘lifting the stone and revealing painful truths will not be resolved overnight’.
This process will not be quick, he says. And it will be painful.
He ends by urging people not to lose heart with the Met while this is happening.
Mr Mark RowleyMetropolitan Police Commissioner, opens the meeting with a statement on the David Carrick case.
He says high standards are at the top of his agenda. He has tens of thousands of wonderful men and women working for him. But there are hundreds of officers who shouldn’t be on the force, and Carrick was an example of that.
He says the Met hasn’t applied the same sense of cruelty to protecting its integrity as it does to catching criminals.
He apologizes to the victims of Carrick and to all the women in London whose faith in the police has been shaken by this.
Regarding the measures he has taken, he says he has increased the number of anti-corruption staff and created a new anti-corruption unit. It is to receive complaints that are investigated.
Some of the calls are for other forces, and those are passed on. He says in this regard that the Met is leading the way.
Mr Mark Rowley, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, is about to give evidence to the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee. There is a live stream here.
Keir Starmer will use his PMQ questions to try to establish when Rishi Sunak learned the details of Nadhim Zahawi’s tax arrangements, Robert Wright and George Parker write in the Financial Times. They say:
Sir Keir Starmer, Labor leader, will demand answers from Sunak to the prime minister’s questions. “The key question for Sunak is, what did he know and when did he know it,” a Starmer ally said.
Sunak told MPs last Wednesday that Zahawi had “already addressed the whole issue and I can’t add anything more” as he tried to draw a line under the issue.
But three days later Zahawi admitted he had paid a fine to HM Revenue & Customs, the tax authority, as part of a settlement of around £5million for unpaid taxes. Sunak’s allies said Zahawi’s statement “came to us as news.”
Starmer will try to establish why Sunak was unaware of the facts of the case last week – the tax settlement story broke days earlier in The Sun on Sunday – when he told MPs the case had been treated “in its entirety”.
Hello. Rishi Sunak takes PMQs in about three hours and, as he rehearses how to respond to Keir Starmer’s lines of attack, one thing he would appreciate is an interruption from an aide saying that the Minister Without Portfolio in the Cabinet Office ( Nadhim Zahawi) is on the line to tender his resignation. If Zahawi were to resign this morning, married quarters would be much easier.
That doesn’t mean it will happen. Sunak said he wanted Zahawi’s fate to be decided by the ethics counselor’s investigation, and Zahawi said he had done nothing wrong and intended to stay on. But on the Today show a few minutes ago David Gaukethe former Tory cabinet minister, said it was “hard to see how this won’t end up [Zahawi’s] resignation.” He also said that if Zahawi was still in office at noon, PMQs were going to be “very uncomfortable” for the prime minister.
Sunak may have thought that the decision to order an investigation would put an end to the debate over Zahawi until the findings were made. But that didn’t happen, and Zahawi is increasingly being criticized, not just for having to pay a fine to HM Revenue and Customs for not paying the taxes due on time, but for threatening journalists with libel suits. last summer when they started investigating. Last night Lord Evans, the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, was particularly critical of this in an interview with the BBC’s PM programme. He said:
If you’re trying to shut down legitimate public debate, I don’t think that’s up to the standards set by Lord Nolan and to which the government is committed. Responsibility [and] transparency are things the government says it wants to characterize its own behavior, so I think they speak for themselves…
The kind of attempts, apparent legal attempts, to suppress this story…I don’t think it’s up to the standards that audiences would rightly expect.
On the Today program this morning Gauke, a former justice secretary, also criticized Zahawi on this point. He said:
What we know now is that what Nadhim Zahawi was saying this summer is very difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile with the information that he paid a fine for his [tax] amenities…
It looks like he was threatening to sue people for defamation for essentially telling the truth, for essentially presenting an analysis of what happened that appears to correspond to reality.
Here is the program for the day.
10 a.m.: Sir Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, answers questions from the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee on the David Carrick case.
12 p.m.: Rishi Sunak takes on Keir Starmer in PMQ.
12 p.m.: Michael Gove, the upgrade secretary, speaks at the Northern Convention conference. Lisa Nandy, his Labor shadow, speaks at 2:50 p.m.
2:30 p.m.: Robert Jenrick, the Minister of Immigration, testifies before the Women and Equalities Commission on equality in the asylum process.
I will try to monitor comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, include “Andrew” somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I try to answer questions, and if they’re of general interest, I’ll post the question and answer above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.
If you want to get my attention quickly, it’s probably best to use Twitter. I’m on it @AndrewSparrow.
You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org