London

Brian Paddick backs Sir Hugh Orde for Met commissioner

Sir Hugh Orde
Image caption Sir Hugh Orde is a graduate of the FBI's National Executive Institute

The Lib Dem candidate for London mayor has backed the head of the Association of Chief Police Officers to become the next Metropolitan Police commissioner.

Former Met Commander Brian Paddick said Sir Hugh Orde would be the "best candidate" to head the force.

Mr Paddick was speaking a day after being selected as his party's candidate for the 2012 London mayoral election.

Sir Hugh is believed to be one of four candidates in the running to replace Sir Paul Stephenson as commissioner.

Sir Paul resigned from the post in July amid revelations about the Met's links with News International. He has since been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Paddick said: "We need a strong commissioner in charge of the Met.

'Strong individual'

"The last two have failed to last the course and I think Sir Hugh Orde would be the best candidate.

"He has rank and file support."

Mr Paddick continued: "Yes, he would be difficult - because he's a strong independent-minded individual.

"But we cannot afford to have another weak commissioner."

Image caption Mr Paddick was chosen as the Lib Dem candidate over Mike Tuffrey by a narrow margin

Strathclyde Police chief Stephen House, Acting Met Commissioner Tim Godwin and former Merseyside Police head Bernard Hogan-Howe are also thought to have applied to become Met commissioner.

Sir Hugh is a former chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The new commissioner will be appointed on the recommendation of the home secretary, who must take into account the views of Mayor Boris Johnson and the Metropolitan Police Authority.

Mr Paddick beat former MP Lembit Opik, London Assembly member Mike Tuffrey and former Haringey councillor Brian Haley to be selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the mayoral election.

The 2012 election will be his second attempt at becoming London mayor after coming third in the last election in 2008.

He will again be up against current Conservative mayor Mr Johnson and Labour's candidate, former mayor Ken Livingstone.

Mr Paddick insisted: "I think I've got a chance."

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