How Boris abused his position as Mayor


9:30 am - March 22nd 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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Boris Johnson’s biographer Sonia Purnell has written a scathing piece on Boris in the Daily Mail.

For all his accusations levelled at Ken for flouting rules, Purnell says Boris’ own colleagues told her: “There is a culture here of not needing to stick to the rules exactly; that somehow they are not really designed for us.”

She lists three prominent incidents.

Many point by way of example to an incident in November 2011, when Sir Eddie Lister, the mayor’s chief of staff and the holder of a politically-restricted post, gave an interview to the Evening Standard in which he gave this verdict on Livingstone: London’s services, Lister said, ‘would crumble’ under another Labour administration and victory for Labour in the election this May would be ‘very sad’, entailing, amongst other worries, a reduction in police numbers.

While extolling Boris’s many virtues, he also denounced Livingstone’s pledge to cut fares as ‘madness’ and ‘impossible without wrecking’ investment. All reasonable points for a politician to peddle, but Lister is forbidden to brief on ‘political matters’ and the interview was again the subject of an official complaint. Yet it was Johnson himself who decided that no further action was necessary.

A Mayor interfering to ensure that his own crony is not punished for breaking the rules? I’m shocked (not).

She goes on:

On other occasions, Johnson’s striking new ‘Routemaster’ bus has been paraded at a series of public events in the outer or ‘doughnut’ London boroughs where the mayor just happens to need to consolidate his vote in May.

The bus – which has cost the public purse over £1 million for a single vehicle – is not planned for use in these boroughs, making the choice of locations intriguing and leading one astute City Hall observer to gasp: “Johnson must be the first British politician to charge the cost of what is effectively his campaign bus to the taxpayer.’

Was there a cry about this from any of Boris’ supporters? Of course not. But they would be livid if Ken did the same.

And there’s another incident:

Earlier, Johnson’s campaign manager, Lynton Crosby, had been given a security pass to City Hall reserved for official rather than political staff – again in contravention of the rules. In the ensuing row, an email came to light suggesting that despite his denials, ‘the mayor’ had indeed ordered the pass to be issued. Johnson’s people soon pooh-poohed this apparently unambiguous piece of evidence, claiming that it had actually been the decision of deputy mayor Sir Simon Milton – who had recently died and therefore, perhaps conveniently, could not be questioned about the affair.

Sonia Purnell concludes: “Johnson promised transparency when he was first elected in 2008. That looks like a promise that has long been forgotten.”

But we can rely on Boris fans never admitting their man is a huge hypocrite.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


When you’re born to rule then little things like this don’t count.

We can also rely on Sunny Hundal himself being a huge hypocrite. As bad as Ken himself.

How many times did Ken’s crony Lee Jasper get away with breaknig the rules? Or indeed Ken himself?

Boris’ supporters aren’t complaining about the busses because they are bright enough to realise that prototype busses cost more than production models….and when you build more unti costs will quickly drop. Indeed, the amount they’ve spent for the prototypes is incredibly low when it comes to designing a new passenger vehicle.

Passing the blame to a dead man. Shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you.

The idea that a “born to rule” tory does what he likes and thinks rules are for the little people will come as no surprise to anyone who follows the scum that is the tory party.

@2

You seem to have forgotten two things about Boris.

1. Darius Guppy
2. Ray Lewis

That will do for now. :)

@2 – funny how you don’t seem to retort anything in the article? The issue about the busses wasn’t the cost, it’s the fact that he used them as (literally) a vehicle for his re-election campaign.

And surprisingly, saying “Well the old one was just as bad” doesn’t make Boris “not-bad”.

@4. buddyhell: “You seem to have forgotten two things about Boris.

1. Darius Guppy”

I think it important to read the words of Peter Risdon who organised the recording of the conversation between Johnson and Guppy:
http://www.peterrisdon.com/blog/2011/07/14/guido-has-this-one-wrong/

Peter Risdon has been telling this story for years, and whilst I have no doubt that he is a prickly geezer, I entirely believe his version.

Are citizens who live “in the outer or ‘doughnut’ London boroughs” forbidden from using “The New Bus for London”?

9. Robin Levett

@’Tyler #2:

Boris’ supporters aren’t complaining about the busses because they are bright enough to realise that prototype busses cost more than production models….and when you build more unti costs will quickly drop. Indeed, the amount they’ve spent for the prototypes is incredibly low when it comes to designing a new passenger vehicle.

We’ve been over this ground before, most recently less than 4 weeks ago:

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/02/27/open-letter-to-boris-over-new-buses-cost/#comment-360771

The Borisbus, on its intended production run, is more than 20% more expensive than better designed off the shelf hybrids. Because of its poor design (whcih results directly from Boris’s choices), it will not win orders outside TfL.

And it has been ordered to replace perfectly serviceable buses still well within their operational lifespan, that had themselves been ordered to provide the capacity necessary on the routes they were used on. As a result, the actual users will get an inferior and far more crowded buss.

The latest YouGov polling puts Boris slightly in the lead, on 39 per cent of the vote compared to 32 per cent for Ken. There’s time to turn that around but unfortunately the same polling reveals Ken’s biggest problem – only 69 per cent of Labour supporters are willing to vote for him! Just under a third of Labour supporters can’t bring themselves to vote for Ken.

Sunny, you’ve done a great job of exposing Boris. We should all be working to provide an alternative to the Tories, including by finding candidates capable of beating them.

@10

“The latest YouGov polling puts Boris slightly in the lead, on 39 per cent of the vote compared to 32 per cent for Ken”.

Any serious researcher will tell you that YouGov polls are rubbish. But it doesn’t surprise me that you’ve quoted the last one here.

12. Chaise Guevara

@ 11

What’s wrong with YouGov? I always thought they were one of the more reputable pollsters.

@12

Have you

1. Seen a YouGov poll?
2. Do you know what an “omnibus survey” is?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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    Typically despicable. MT @sunny_hundal Boris abuses position as Mayor: 3 incidents, http://t.co/RIzaqEvl… by @soniapurnell

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    […] the Mayor been abusing his position? Liberal Conspiracy thinks […]

  26. sunny hundal

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