Merseyside’s chief constable has been named in a shortlist of four candidates to be Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the Metropolitan Police Authority has said.

Bernard Hogan-Howe is on the list, along with acting commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, who was deputy to ex-commissioner Sir Ian Blair.

The other names shortlisted are Sir Hugh Orde, chief constable of Northern Ireland and Sir Paul Scott-Lee, chief constable of the West Midlands force.

A Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) spokesman confirmed the names on the list following widespread circulation of rumours on who had made the cut.

The shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by a panel of MPA members.

Their recommendation, combined with representations by London mayor Boris Johnson and his policing deputy Kit Malthouse, will then go forward to the Home Office.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith will interview one or two candidates before making a final recommendation to the Queen. The appointment is expected to be made in the spring.

Sir Paul Stephenson was favourite for the job, but has faced criticism over the arrest of Tory immigration spokesman Damien Green.

Mr Hogan-Howe has received plaudits for his work cracking down on knife and gun crime on Merseyside. The successful prosecution of Sean Mercer over the murder of Rhys Jones will boost his claim.

Sir Hugh Orde can claim experience of terrorism as head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) since 2002. Sir Paul Scott-Lee is a relative unknown. He worked in the Kent and Suffolk forces before becoming West Midlands chief constable in 2002.