METROPOLITAN Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has refused to resign despite setting fire to a tramp in central London.
Sir Ian said he was too important to the fight against terrorism to be forced from his post by people who were sentimental about vagrants.
He faced down his critics after the Independent Police Complaints Commission pin-pointed a series of management failings which led to Sir Ian torching an anonymous hobo under a railway arch near Vauxhall tube station.
Sir Ian said: "There is nothing in this report to suggest that a future Metropolitan Police Commissioner, faced with the same set of circumstances, would not set fire to a tramp.
"A senior policeman who has finished work for the day, is a bit bored and is looking for someone to set fire to is just one of the many risks we now face.
"I deeply regret the chain of events which led to me setting fire to that tramp, but I have to tell you I would not hesitate to do it again."
Sir Ian stressed that the tramp in question was not English, adding: "Throughout this inquiry I have made it clear that he looked and sounded foreign. If I had to guess, I would say he was Scottish.
"Are we really going to hand a victory to Al-Qaeda because I set fire to some random Scotsman?"