Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Assembly launch investigation into Boris's Team

After two months of bungled appointments, lost salaries, and enforced resignations, the London Assembly have decided to launch a formal investigation into the way Boris Johnson has appointed people at City Hall.

The decision to launch an investigation came after the assembly were told that the current appointment procedures were 'adequate' by Boris Johnson's First Deputy Mayor.

Labour Assembly Member John Biggs said earlier today:

"To lose one advisor might be considered unfortunate but to lose two in two weeks looks like carelessness.

"Beyond the headlines there are important issues about the appointment of publicly funded staff that need to be addressed to ensure the good management of this authority."

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group Mike Tuffrey said that the problems exposed in the past two months undermined Boris Johnson's claims to have made London government more accountable:

“Boris Johnson promised Londoners an end to cronyism at City Hall with transparency and clarity about the appointment of advisers and their interests. What we heard today from Tim Parker failed to address the issues about appointments exposed by the recent resignations.”

The investigation will be conducted by the Business Management and Administration Committee and will look at four key areas:
  1. How did Mayor Boris Johnson pick his senior City Hall policy advisors?
  2. Were proper recruitment procedures followed?
  3. Was the Mayor properly advised about the use of his powers of appointment? 
  4. What lessons can be learnt for future changes of administration at City Hall?
The announcement comes just two days after the Church of England criticised the decision to cancel the planned investigation into the appointment of Ray Lewis.

The new investigation will concentrate on the Ray Lewis fiasco. However, it will almost certainly also touch on the legal mess surrounding the appointment of Simon Milton as well as the unresolved conflicts of interest surrounding other senior appointments.

Speaking at today's Plenary, Tim Parker tried to gloss over the problems, but did admit that they may have been rushed:

"My view is that there is a lot of pressure to get Fred or Fanny into posts so that you can say that you have got somebody there, and I do not think that is potentially the right approach."

The decision to launch the investigation comes at the end of a torrid few weeks for Boris Johnson's administration and will further stall attempts to move the agenda away from the errors of the past two months.

When Boris Johnson accepted Ray Lewis's resignation he did so in order to avoid him becoming 'the story rather than the solution.' 

But with increasing attention being paid to the ways in which Boris and his team have allocated power at City Hall, there seems little danger of that problem disappearing any time soon.

This post now also appears over at Liberal Conspiracy


Anonymous said...

Maybe they should have kept Fred out until they had at least checked on Fanny.

This is the problem when you hire a journalist to run a city.

Anonymous said...

Why cant the left just let him get on with it. He did win the election didt you know? What's your problem with democracy when you don't you get the result you wanted. It's just the bottled referendum all over again.

The Tory Troll said...


victor allen said...

Am I right about this?
Under Livingstone, Nicky Gavron was deputy mayor. OK she wasn't elected to that post, but at least she was elected to the assembly. Nobody has elected Tim Parker - except the man who wants to end cronyism.

The Tory Troll said...

You are right yes. The GLA act only allows for one Deputy Mayor who must be an elected member of the assembly. This role is now filled by Richard Barnes.

However, it isn't clear what he actually does because Boris has 'sprayed' (his term) the title of deputy mayor around five different people who have a huge range of different roles.

This is partly why the assembly are launching this investigation, so as to clear up once and for all what exactly all these people are actually getting paid to do. I have been following it for a couple of months now and I am still completely baffled.

Doug said...

About bloody time...

Helen said...

I suggest Boris just renames everybody at City Hall "Dave" and is done with it.

asquith said...

Next up, Munira Mirza goes, & the actual scrutiny, which seems to have eluded them so far, kills off the Furediite cult once & for all.

The Tory Troll said...

For our less learned readers (me) can someone explain what Furediite means?

BenSix said...

"For our less learned readers (me) can someone explain what Furediite means?"

A follower of Frank Furedi - the 'libertarian Marxist', sociologist and fearless challenger of whatever the hell happens to be irritating him.

They swarm around Spiked Online, Institute of Ideas etc.

victor allen said...

If you're right about the deputy mayor limuit (ie only one allowed), are we awaiting further resignations? Or can you resign from a post that doesn't legally exist?
Or maybe the additional mayors have been appointed because, far from being stupid, Boris was much more far-sighted than we ever gave him credit for and knew he would only have one by the end of the summer?
Machaeveli would have done Latin, I guess?

The Tory Troll said...

Another resignation would pretty much kill off his mayoralty so the person would have to do something pretty unforgivable to get the elbow. I'm thinking Max Mosley meets Josef Fritzl here.

Anonymous said...

Quick! someone contact Andrew Gillighan his whitewash brush is needed.

Anonymous said...

This is more and more turning into a game of chess with a very lousy opponent. So who is next, the Queen (Tim Parker) or the king himself?

Anonymous said...

"Next up, Munira Mirza goes"

Wouldn't she have to do something wrong first - or is that not the point?

asquith said...

Thanks, bensix. That is the concise answer, here's the unabridged version. You must have come across these people, but perhaps you didn't recognise them. These are a pack of entryist twats, of whom Brendan O'Neill is especially a ringleader. Look for Spiked Online, Institute of Ideas, Revolutionary Communist Party, Sense about Science, etc in the tagline. They also made "The Great Global Warming Swindle", which is itself a swindle.

You will have encountered many a Furediite in your time (BON, for example, "writes" for Comment Is Free, where he is flayed alive on a regular basis, & obviously doesn't deign to answer his critics), & after a bit of practice it's easy to spot them from the distinctive brand of utter shit they talk.

Another point about them is that they make big talk about "free speech", & having a "debate", but I've never come across any example of one of their sites having a comment feature: Shite Online, for example, doesn't have one, presumably because anyone who commented them would tell them what total bollocks they were "writing".

They are also big friends with James Delingpole, who as we are all aware is a well-established cunt, & Guido Fawkes associates with them. There are lots of excellent reasons to hate the fuckers, but now at what seems to be the point of their greatest influence, I think they will get torn to pieces when people start realising what they are.

votedforken said...

Perhaps one thing they can scrutinise in further detail is the attitude to women. Ken Livingstone has written an article on the elimination of women from senior posts at the GLA since Johnson took over - check out

Questioned on this very point Parker carried on digging.

Murad Qureshi put it to that "In the first wave of job losses here at the GLA in City Hall they have disproportionately affected women, more so than any others" and asked: "Are you aware of that and what amends are you making?"

What did Parker do? Make it worse!

"Well all I would, let me sort of make a general point for you which is that - and maybe you will disagree with me but I'm trying to be open - is that when you go towards the top of an organisation people get paid more money. And for that money you expect them to have a narrower set of skills and therefore you make judgements about whether that person has the right set of skills to do the role.

When you go down the pyramid of an organisation you find there are many posts arguably where the set of skills is more open to a broader market....

....It's easier to be more equal as it were. The narrower you get towards the top of an organisation it actually gets tougher and tougher because the needs of the post have to be taken into account against the range of people available to fill the post. And sometimes as a result of that you will get a situation where there are more women leaving or more people from one group or another. But we are, you know, for me when you get to the top, the sole thing that we must focus on is having the right people for the right slots? And I hope that we can all agree that that's the right thing. And that the conclusion you draw is that you know that it doesn't reflect the mix of women is not that being anti-women."

So basically women are not as qualified for the top jobs, even though Ken found it easy enough to find well qualified women to be his director of media or his deputy mayor. Perhaps Johnson's just not looking.

Clearly on this performance the problem is not finding women to hold the top jobs but finding anyone competent to hold the top job in Johnson's team.

It's all about an hour and a quarter in on the Assembly session held yesterday 9 July, if anyone doubts this report.

Smarter Than The Average said...

Minor quibble, asquith: were the Sp!ked cabal actually involved with "The Great Global Warming Swindle"? I know that they are certainly sympathetic to it's denialist propaganda.

pastyface said...

Maybe Johnson can't be trusted around women

just a thought.

they wouldn't want any scandals would they

asquith said...

smarter than average,

I'm not actually sure. I don't think he actually is a Furediite, he just acts like one. & he is also an ally of that cult if not a member:

They are not directly part of the swindle, no. Thanks for pointing out...

I will go & blush accordingly. & read Sourcewatch too.