Boris fanboy Andrew Gilligan given cushy cycling job

10:01 pm - January 17th 2013

by Sunny Hundal    

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In the past few months Boris has appointed several of his personal friends: Veronica Wadley, Gerard Lyons and Ray Lewis to cushy jobs at London’s City Hall.

But even accusations of cronyism haven’t stopped him from continuing.

Now his long-time supporter and fanboy Andrew Gilligan, who has been campaigning for him through the pages of the Telegraph for years, has got a job too.

Gilligan writes:

It’s emerged today – slightly earlier than planned – that I’ve been offered a job as Boris Johnson’s cycling commissioner. It’s part-time; I’ll continue in my day job, covering national and international news for the Telegraph, though I will no longer be called London Editor or cover any matter related to City Hall or Boris Johnson.

And yet only last year Andrew Gilligan wrote this on cyclists:

What the cycling lobby always gets wrong is that it overestimates cycling’s political salience. Cycling gets a lot of media attention, but that’s because so many media folk cycle. Bikes are the transport of a small, disproportionately wealthy and privileged minority.

Clearly Boris picked the right man for the job.

Not even taking Andrew Gilligan’s part-time salary into account, so far that is £242,000 of taxpayers’ money Boris is offering to his friends. The Taxpayers’ Alliance have kept strangely silent on the matter.

Leader of the Labour Group Len Duvall AM said today:

Boris’s arrogance apparently knows no bounds. He is going to appoint someone with no experience of making transport or cycling policy to a senior paid position at City Hall. This is truly startling. It looks like Boris has just appointed one of his friends without any independent evaluation of his skills or suitability for the post.

Boris supporters, who railed against ‘cronyism’ under Ken Livingstone, have been remarkably silent of course.

UPDATE: Andrew Gilligan has responded, saying it isn’t cronyism because he hasn’t siphoned off any money. Erm, Gilligan may want to look up the definition of cronyism first – what he described is corruption, what I’m referring to is still called cronyism.

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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

Well we know that Johnson regards sums of around £250,000 as “chicken feed.”

i was going to make a comment about cronyism on the comment part but not surprisingly comments are closed. so much for free speech at the telegraph.

3. Chaise Guevara

“Boris fanboy Andrew Gilligan who dissed cyclists given cushy cycling job”

Sunny, I bothered to actually read that article, and it shows Gilligan to be a keen cyclist who’s positive about cycling.

You’re such a fecking liar sometimes.

You’re such a fecking liar sometimes.

It’s not his fault Chaise…

5. Chaise Guevara

@ 4 Tim

Ha ha!

Not only is Gilligan one of Bozza’s cronies, he’s a hypocrite too. I wonder if he’ll continue his sockpuppeting? Old habits die hard.

Sockpuppeting? How dare you?

Tony Blair will now be able to claim that it was all a deep Conservative plot to destabilise the New Labour government when Angrew Gilligan blew the gaff on the government’s Dodgy Dossier on Iraq’s weapons of Mass Destruction in that early morning interview by John Humphrys on the BBC Today Programme:

“Andrew Gilligan sparked the cataclysmic row between the government and the BBC when he reported allegations that Downing Street had ordered an intelligence dossier on Iraq weapons of mass destruction to be ‘sexed up’. . .

“The initial report went out at 6.07am on May 29 2003, and by 7.32am Downing Street had issued a categorical denial of the allegations, saying ‘Not one word of the dossier was not entirely the work of the intelligence agencies.'”
Guardian report 21 January 2004

As the result of the interview, Gilligan was forced to resign his job at the BBC, as was Greg Dyke, the BBC’s Director General at the time. The chairman of the BBC Trust, Gavyn Davies, also stepped down.

“Tony Blair has rejected calls for an official inquiry into the government’s claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Speaking at the G8 summit in Evian, Mr Blair said he stood ‘100%’ by the evidence shown to the public about Iraq’s alleged weapons programmes.

“‘Frankly, the idea that we doctored intelligence reports in order to invent some notion about a 45-minute capability for delivering weapons of mass destruction is completely and totally false,’ he said.”
BBC website 2 June 2003

After the invasion of Iraq, no such weapons were found in Iraq. Gilligan had been right all along.

9. Robin Levett


I, like Chaise, have read the aricle from which you extracted a paragraph; it seems to me that this:

I met Carl Pittam [Sustrans’s London Director] after the event and put some of these points to him. He struck me as a decent guy and I think that he, like me, believes passionately that London can be a great cycling city on a par with at least Berlin, if not Amsterdam. But that’s why I’m so depressed about the bog-up the cycling lobby is making of its case. If Boris is re-elected, as all the polls suggest, he might reasonably think what’s the point of trying to please these people if all they do is ignore, or misrepresent, my record?

rather more honestly represents Gilligan’s position. It just goes to show that even the worst have some good points…

Having said that, you could have made your point without the mendacity; how is it appropriate for someone to be apointed to a senior post whose only qualifications appear to be (in no particular order) an enthusiasm for the subject and the friendship of the appointer.

I think Sunny is still pissed off that his defense of Lee Jasper over the missing millions made him look stupid. I seem to remember him posting on Pickled Politics that Gilligan’s articles were falling apart and that the whole thing was a Tory conspiracy.

You certainly got that one wrong didn’t you Sunny? As you seem to be interested in cronyism could you explain to us where the money did go? Three and a half million if my memory serves me well.

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