Monday, 14 July 2008

Boris Johnson's key advisor in double resignation

Sir Simon Milton announced today that he would resign from Westminster Council and the Local Government Association after it became clear that his position at City Hall was in breach of rules established to prevent corruption.

Milton, who will now regain the salary he lost will take up a seat among the ever-growing legion of Deputy Mayors at City Hall. 

The news that he was about to resign his posts and become Deputy Mayor for Planning was broken after persistent questioning from blogger and journalist Dave Hill

But it comes just one day before he was due to appear before the Assembly, and just minutes before he was apparently due to appear in front of a Westminster Council Scrutiny Committee to discuss a possible breach of the Widdecombe rules. 

All of which leads the Troll to suspect that Milton may have jumped before he was pushed.

In a written statement, the Mayor's spokesman said:

"Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has today nominated Sir Simon Milton as Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning. Sir Simon has announced his intention to stand down as a Westminster Councillor and as Chairman of the Local Government Association, once a successor has been nominated. 

His appointment as Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning will be subject to the appropriate procedures, with an interview panel chaired by Greater London Authority Chief Executive Anthony Mayer, which will include an independent element and a confirmation hearing, if required, by the London Assembly."

The concession comes after months of insistence from the Mayor that Milton's position was legally 'watertight'. However, his enforced resignations would now clearly suggest otherwise.

Labour's leader on the London Assembly Len Duvall said today:

"Boris Johnson knew Sir Simon's appointment was in breach of the law and that if he hadn't taken action to resolve this fiasco someone else was about to. Of course we welcome his belated decision to do the right thing and step down but the Mayor could have resolved this and spared everyone's blushes weeks ago had he bothered to pay attention to the rules.

This has been very slap-dash in handing out titles and positions to people. This is the latest blunder that proves he should have taken a little more time and paid more attention to the rules before rushing ahead with politically expedient appointments."

The decision to ask Milton to resign from his other posts comes after it was revealed that Milton was to be exempted from the City Hall ethics code. 

Crucially it also comes in advance of the investigation into the botched appointments made so far by City Hall. 

However, despite the long delay, the decision is clearly the right one and clears up what was for me the biggest question mark hanging over Boris's appointments.

And with Lewis gone and Milton's position now seemingly resolved, we should hopefully see our Mayor begin to get on with running London any time soon.


Steve said...

There's a lesson to be learnt from this. NEVER go and work for Boris. It's more than your job's worth.

Anonymous said...

Will he now be taking Ray Lewis' salary or will this be one more for our bill.

The Tory Troll said...

Don't know yet. It all depends on if they find a replacement for Lewis or not.

Tom said...

Actually, I'll be much happier if he receives a wage for what he does. After all, he's supposed to be working for us, so I'd like him to suffer financially if he screws up and has to do the Lewis Shuffle.

After all, we already know he's considered susceptible to a bit of pillow talk (by his other half, no less, who presumably knows him pretty well). I'd like a few grand of our money on the other pillow to keep him focused on the job, thanks.

The Tory Troll said...

It's also good to know that there will now be one man focusing on planning in the capital and not on a myriad of other interests. It's just a shame that that one person isn't the mayor.

Anonymous said...

Another boris disaster LOL.

stuart graham said...

In all honesty, Simon Milton's appointment and clearing up this mess makes a lot of sense from the administration's point of view. Usually when we hear the spin on these appointments about 'what a great additin to the team it is' we can laugh. In truth (I may live to regret these words) Simon Milton is a safe pair of hands and is a more serious local government appointee (as opposed to the prince of darkness).
The proble is the policies that are going to be pursued and for whose benefit.
Simon's not used to havig to consider the plight of the poorest in London and with Parker being introduced to run things in market conditions, the level of investment will prove inadequate.
I may prove wrong, but it won't be in Simon Milton's court where the problems occur.

Helen said...

Hnag on, what about Ian Clement? Will he still be passing through every planning application without examination or will that now be Milton's job?

The Tory Troll said...

Helen - Hopefully we will find this out at this mornings Assembly meeting. I don't know of any reason (legal or otherwise) why Milton couldn't vet planning applications as well. Anyone know any different?

The Tory Troll said...

Stuart - Yes Simon is a serious and experienced operator. No doubt about that. The issue will be as you say, what he does with that experience.

Simon said...

"I don't know of any reason (legal or otherwise) why Milton couldn't vet planning applications as well. Anyone know any different?"

Formally it would have to be Clement as this is a power of the Mayor which has been delegated specifically to him. Informally, of course, anyone can have a go.

The Tory Troll said...

BREAKING NEWS from teh assembly- Boris 'intends' to start to take these decisions himself once 'he sorts his diary out' in the near future. He will only take them if he is available. Otherwise Milton will be delegated them.

More soon

The Tory Troll said...

Update - He will take a salary of £120,000