Boris Johnson's appointment of two of his advisors may not even be legal, City Hall admitted today.
Questions were raised after Sir Simon Milton and Kit Malthouse were both given jobs in the administration, despite already having jobs in restricted posts.
As reported here last week, Milton is currently the leader of Westminster City Council and Kit Malthouse is a member of the elected assembly. However, under current legislation and convention sitting councillors and members of the assembly are not permitted to be part of the twelve members of the Mayor's paid executive.
And while Milton has said he will give up his position on Westminster City Council, Malthouse will continue to occupy a place on the elected assembly. This is a clear conflict of interest as Malthouse's role on the Assembly is to scrutinise the very Executive that he is himself a part.
By appointing a member of the assembly into the Executive, Boris has therefore interfered with the separation of powers that enables the executive to be effectively held to account.
In an attempt to avert some of these problems, Milton has been appointed as a 'consultant'. However, City Hall admits that it is unclear whether there is a satisfactory legal position for such a role to be paid for by the taxpayer. Malthouse's position is equally unclear. A spokesperson for the Mayor said today:
"This is a grey area and we are trying to come up with new protocols. There are two categories where the law is unclear - one in the case of the consultant, that is Sir Simon, and the other in the case of Kit Malthouse, where he is an elected member and part of the executive at the same time. We are looking at how to make sure in these cases we institute stringent procedures of our own to make sure this is properly handled."
The Mayor was elected in part on a promise to bring more transparency to the workings of City Hall. However, despite promises to publish expenses and salaries 'from day one,' the Mayor has failed to do so after almost two weeks in the job.
A spokesperson for the Mayor said that these details would be published 'in the near future.' Hopefully by then they will have worked out exactly who is allowed to be in which job.