If you offered the political classes (and the general public) the chance to spray water at Boris Johnson you’d imagine you’d need half the Metropolitan Police on hand to cope with the queue. Now, though, some lucky blighter is going to get the option to blast Boris with a water cannon after the Mayor agreed to face the Met’s newest weapon.
The Mayor has controversially agreed to buy three water cannons from the German Federal Police for the Met at a cost of £218,000. This is despite water cannons never being used on the British mainland and despite the Home Secretary having yet to agree to their use.
Met commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, has pledged that water cannon would be “rarely used and rarely seen”. And, to prove that the cannon is safe, Boris has agreed to face it himself. When interviewed by Nick Ferrari on LBC, the Mayor accepted the dare. Boris said: “Man or mouse. You’ve challenged me, so I suppose I’m going to have to do it now.”
He told presenter Nick Ferrari: “I can see all my press people pulling their hair out over this, but never mind, it’s got to be done. Thanks for that one.”
The purchase of the cannons has proved controversial with Labour and the Liberal Democrats condemning it as ‘reckless’. Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat leader on the London Assembly, said: “There is no evidence to defend the provision of water cannon in London.
“After three hearings at City Hall the case against the use of water cannon was compelling. London Assembly Members, across the political parties have expressed their total opposition to one of the worst aspects of European policing being adopted in London. The Mayor’s refusal to listen or engage with evidence presented to him is shameful.”
Reports that Ken Livingstone is to be given control of the water cannon have yet to be confirmed…