Boris Johnson has given away all of his powers on major planning decisions, to one of his unelected advisors, it was revealed today.
Boris had previously denied delegating these powers to Ian Clement but in a report to the Assembly, he admits that:
I have also agreed to delegate my functions under the Town and Country Planning (Mayor of London) Orders 2000 and 2008 in relation to all planning applications referred to the Mayor of London, including those already received by the Greater London Authority.
Under questioning from assembly members last month, Boris admitted that Clement was 'advising' him on planning matters but insisted that full powers had not been delegated. In response to a question from John Biggs, he said:
I am taking a keen interest in planning applications in London but you will understand that I have been in this job for about two and a half weeks and I have not had time to get my head round every single planning application that has come on to my desk; I think you will understand there has been a lot going on and a lot to do but I will make sure that, as we go forward, I take a very lively interest in planning applications. Insofar as I have delegated my powers over planning or asked others to get on with the vital business of planning approvals, that does not mean for one moment that I have ceded authority or interest in these matters.
However, despite taking a 'keen interest' Boris has in fact ceded authority on over 30 major individual planning decisions so far. He has also crucially ceded authority over the overarching strategy for planning decisions made within the local development plans.
The news that Boris has given up these huge powers over planning, comes after the full job description for the 'First Deputy Mayor' Tim Parker showed Boris to have given up other major parts of his role to the ex-private equity boss.
So as the weeks go by, it is becoming clear that Londoners have not voted in a strong champion to lead their city, but a frontman for what is looking more and more like government by unelected quango.