Boris Johnson blames Sadiq Khan for knife crime surge in furious row with mayor

Boris Johnson has plunged into a row with his successor as London mayor by blaming him for a surge in knife crime.

The millionaire Tory MP – who’s been squatting in his grace-and-favour £20m mansion almost two weeks after he resigned – accused Sadiq Khan of "abject failure to grip the problem" and blaming "everyone but himself".

Today Mr Khan’s office hit back, accusing the mop-haired former Foreign Secretary of spouting "desperate nonsense".

It comes after latest shock figures showed police have recorded a 16% surge in knife crime.

Mr Johnson accused opponents of "politically correct virtue signalling" and said it was a "scandal" that the murder rate in the city was higher than in New York earlier this year.

The Tory politician wrote in the Daily Telegraph: "Sadiq Khan may be a twinkle-toed mover on the movie premiere red carpet.

"But his pirouettes on the subject of knife crime are a positive wonder.

"He blames funding (when he was left with a large war chest by me); he blames the Tory Government; he blames society.

"He blames everyone but himself, when it is his paramount duty to keep Londoners safe. It is a pathetic performance."

Mr Johnson said stop and searches "make a difference" and admitted that it was a "serious mistake" for the Home Office to move away from them in 2015.

He urged Mr Khan not to "berate" the police, but to "get behind" Scotland Yard.

The number of homicides in in London went from 100 in 2013/14 to 153 in 2017/18.

And the number "knife and sharp instrument offences" in London rose from 13,341 to 14,159 between 2010 and 2011 when Mr Johnson was mayor, but then fell for three years in a row to 9,680 in 2014/15.

Mr Johnson was mayor for eight years to May 2016.

The Met has weathered budget cuts of £600 million since 2011, and is now having to save hundreds of millions more.

Mr Khan has granted an extra £110 million to the force.

Even Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has said the decrease in funding is one factor behind the rise in violent crime – along with violence being glamorised on social media and changes to the drugs trade.

A spokesman for the Mayor of London said: "This is desperate nonsense from the man who was in the government that slashed stop and search and funding for our police and preventive services and saw violent crime rise across the country.

"Sadiq is being tough on crime with extra money for the police and increased levels of targeted stop and search, as well as the causes of crime with money for youth services.

"But he has one hand tied behind his back – what City Hall can do is a drop in the ocean in the face of billions of pounds of Government cuts and the mayor makes no apology for calling for more money for our police."

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