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Sadiq Khan talks about Kensington fire

Wimbledon MP accuses Sadiq Khan of putting constituents at risk over policing decisions

Conservative MP Stephen Hammond has today hit back at Sadiq Khan’s claims that he is putting party politics ahead of public safety.

The MP for Wimbledon has responded to claims made by the Mayor of London that he was playing party politics following his decision to criticize the Metropolitan Police’s budget decisions.

These include the closure of police station front counters and the merging of back-office police functions in order to save money.

Mr Hammond said: “It is the Mayor of London who is putting my constituents at risk by the decisions he is taking.”

Earlier in the week, Sadiq Khan had asked the south London MP to direct his frustrations at the state of local policing towards the Tory government, who have left the Met Police with no choice but to ‘make some really difficult decisions.’

Mr Khan said: “Keeping Londoners safe is my highest priority – but it’s getting harder every year because of these huge Tory cuts to the Met police.”

The Met Police are under increasing pressure to cut costs, with the force making £600m of savings since 2010.

Over the next few years the Met will have to find a further £400m as a result of real-term government cuts.

This is on top of the government’s plans to cut counter terror funding in London by 7% in real terms over the next three years, according to chief constable Sara Thornton, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

The Mayor of London believes the answer lies not in criticising the Met, but instead in making sure that Mr Hammond ensures his party can provide the Met with the funding it desperately needs at the next budget on November 22.

However, Mr Hammond, who has been battling to keep Wimbledon police station open, claims that the Mayor has £2bn of unrestricted reserves which he could use to fund Wimbledon police station but has chosen not to.

He added: “He should stop blaming everyone, respect the needs of Wimbledon and commit to keeping it’s police station open and stop putting my constituents’ safety at risk.”

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