Snipe - The Scoop

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Boris Johnson under pressure to sack Ian Clement

Boris Johnson was coming under increasing pressure to fire his Deputy Mayor this morning after full details of his expenses were revealed.

The details revealed by the Guardian show that Ian Clement spent thousands on flight upgrades, groceries, a car repair, fine wines and dinners with fellow Tories.

However, whilst Clement repaid the so-called 'personal items' on the credit card bill, he has not repaid the claims for flight upgrades and dinners with his former colleagues at Bexley Council.

And despite being the Deputy Mayor for Government relations, Clement did not claim for a single meeting with a minister.

Instead the former leader of Bexley Council's dining companions included:

  • Brian Coleman (Tory London Assembly Member)
  • Gareth Bacon (Tory London Assembly Member)
  • Kulveer Ranger (Boris's Transport Director)
  • Theresa Villiers (Tory Shadow Transport Spokesperson)
  • Cllr Mike Freer (Tory Leader of Barnet Council)
  • Justine Greening (Tory MP)
  • David Ruffley (Tory MP for Bury St Edmunds)
  • Cllr Michael Rye (Tory leader of Enfield Council)
  • James Brokenshire (Tory MP and PPC for Bexley and Sidcup)
  • Melvin Seymour (Tory Councillor from Bexley)
  • Joe Pollard (Tory Councillor from Bexley)
  • Katie Perrior (Tory Councillor from Bexley)
  • Jane Richardson (another former colleague from Bexley)

Speaking at today's Mayor's Question Time, Boris said that Clement's actions had been 'crass' and 'inappropriate', but insisted that there had been no dishonesty.

He could not say what disciplinary action had been taken but insisted that his Deputy would appear before the Assembly.

Asked whether Clement had offered to resign, Boris said that he had 'no intention' of discussing that.

If he were to go than he would be the fifth senior member of Boris's team to be forced out of office.

Clement is expected to make a statement later today. Watch Ian Clement's statement here



-Update- A user called GLAcityhall is requesting the 'speedy deletion' of Ian Clement's Wikipedia page. Why?


They are the sole creator and editor of that page...

-Update 2- The deletion notice has now been removed by another user (Hat tip to Alex J Thomas). Keep an eye on it here.



-Update 3- Questions are now being asked about a corporate credit card Ian Clement had whilst at Bexley Council.

His old opponents at Bexley want those receipts released as well according to the News Shopper.

And with good reason.

Tim Donovan also reported tonight that most Tory AMs and even one fellow Deputy are now calling for Clement to be sacked.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did Boris say why it was acceptable for his deputy to buy lunch for his pals at Bexley Council?

Tom said...

"David Ruffley (Tory MP for Bury St Edmunds)"

My home town. Not notable as a centre for Government relations. Ruffley is, however, Shadow Minister for Police Reform, although if so, surely Kit Malthouse should be picking up the tab?

AdamB said...

Tom - Yes he does appear to be Deputy Mayor for relations with whichever Tory politician fancies a free meal. Perhaps there are plans to annex Suffolk. Boris Airport 2?

Anonymous - no he didn't. And Clement will not be paying us back for these meals for some reason. I wonder if he has any other crucial meetings planned with minor figures on Bexley Council.

Grant Blowers said...

Also add Cllr Joe Pollard, another Tory Bexley councillor, and also Katie Perrior, who ran Boris' PR during campaign, but is also a Tory Bexley councillor.

Perhaps you should also mention that James Brokenshire MP is currently MP for Hornchurch, but has been selected as Tory PPC for... Old Bexley and Sidcup. It does seem Clement can't quite remove himself from his Bexley Tory circles in his wider remit for London.

AdamB said...

Well spotted Grant. I had forgotten that Perrior was a Tory councillor as well as being Boris's PR during the election campaign. I will add them to the list.

Anonymous said...

If this had been anyone else but Boris's Deputy Mayor they would be out on their ear by now. It's one rule for Boris and his mates and another rule for the rest of us.

AdamB said...

Something funny is going on with Ian Clement's Wikipedia page. A 'candidate for speedy deletion' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Clement

Anonymous said...

I do love the way the Standard tried desperately to bring the 'previous administration' into it by saying there was a culture of luxurious travel.

AdamB said...

I saw the draft copy that was sent to City Hall and it made a desperate attempt to try and link it all to Lee Jasper. The editors seem to have removed that particular piece of Gilligoonery.

Chris said...

First Boris backs the bankers and now he's bankrolling his pal's social life. So much for being the mayor for all londoners.

Rayyan said...

I'm losing track of how many deputies and advisors have resigned since May 2008. Perhaps someone should produce a handy list?

AdamB said...

-James McGrath resigned over his "let them go if they don't like it here" comments.

-Bob Diamond resigned after just a few weeks in the job (reason unknown)

-Ray Lewis resigned after accusations of financial and sexual misconduct (and because he lied on his CV)

-Tim Parker resigned after being forced out by Simon milton

-David Ross resigned over a shares scandal

Have I missed anyone out?

Anonymous said...

Anyone wonder, looking at the details of what he claimed, what the £108.00 spent in the Premier Inn in Putney on June 26th 2008 was for? I mean there are better, and cheaper restaurants to eat in around that area, so I find it hard to believe a man used to lunching or dining at the Pont de Tour or Butler’s Wharf Chophouse would have chosen to eat at a Premier Inn.

The card used to make the booking then appears to be credited back with the same amount a day (night?) later.

What does it all mean?

Mike Tuffrey AM (Lib Dem Press release) said...

‘Three questions Boris Johnson must answer about Ian Clement's expenses' - Mike Tuffrey

Mike Tuffrey, the leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the revelations relating to Ian Clement’s use of a City Hall corporate credit card is calling said:

“First, over a period of nine months Ian Clement repeatedly broke City Hall rules about personal spending. Why did Boris Johnson allow this to continue?

“Second, why is Boris Johnson still allowing his senior staff to bill taxpayers for taking each other out to lunch and dinner?

“Third, will Boris Johnson now agree to publish the full expense details of all his senior staff, so the public can judge just what sort of regime is he running at City Hall?

“Boris Johnson's pledge in the last election to restore trust in City Hall finances now rings very hollow.”

Appealing of Ealing said...

Chris said...
"First Boris backs the bankers and now he's bankrolling his pal's social life. So much for being the mayor for all londoners."

This might make sense if one was suffering from a head injury.

One could equally conclude that therefore Boris assassinated JFK...blond shock on the grassy knoll. Makes sense to me

Appealing of Ealing said...

Mike Tuffrey AM (Lib Dem who he?) said...
‘Three questions Boris Johnson must answer about Ian Clement's expenses'

Go for it Mike.

“First..."

Ok, I'm all ears.

"...over a period of nine months Ian Clement repeatedly broke City Hall rules about personal spending. Why did Boris Johnson allow this to continue?"

Is it possible he didn't know about it? Like because the system in place was the system that was always in place.

“Second, why is Boris Johnson still allowing his senior staff to bill taxpayers for taking each other out to lunch and dinner?"

Depends. Maybe they're not dining with each other in The Ritz, maybe they're having modest working lunches...like happens in the private sector. You tell me Mike.

“Third, will Boris Johnson now agree to publish the full expense details of all his senior staff, so the public can judge just what sort of regime is he running at City Hall?"

Why not. Let's publish them going back to 2000. Would make interesting reading.

“Boris Johnson's pledge in the last election to restore trust in City Hall finances now rings very hollow.”

Well, I think he's restored some trust where it matters, like in the LDA... where the money was disappearing like snow off a ditch.

So much for Mike. Seems a bit hollow to me too.

AdamB said...

"who he?" He's the leader of the Lib Dem group on the London Assembly. Who the fuck are you?

"Is it possible he didn't know about it?"

No.

"Depends. Maybe they're not dining with each other in The Ritz, maybe they're having modest working lunches..."

What, like the meal where he spent $285 on three bottles of wine?

"Well, I think he's restored some trust where it matters, like in the LDA... where the money was disappearing like snow off a ditch."

What like this?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/jun/14/lda-olympic-budget-shortfall

Anonymous said...

Appealing of Ealing

"Depends. Maybe they're not dining with each other in The Ritz, maybe they're having modest working lunches...like happens in the private sector." - It may happen in the private sector, but shouldn't in the public sector. Its my and your money. It is also specifically forbidden under GLA rules to do that. Maybe the Mayor’s office thinks the rules don't apply to them?

I agree about the backdating.

Helen said...

Patience Wheatcroft's Tory-led witch hunt, I mean forensic audit, utterly failed to pick up on this, then? Funny, that.

harold said...

If I was Boris, I'd sack him for not being included on the luncheon list!

barry rochford said...

There are some very serious questions, obviously, but it seems that the culture of Westminbster seems to have followed Boris to City Hall. Given that Boris had the most thorough and expensive (and biased)forensic team to investigate expenditure under Ken and they found not a postage stamp fiddled, we ahve to assume that this is new, although if things weren't well scrutinised before there probably were a few odd claims. (Had Ken bought a frog house for his newts we would certainly ahve heard about it)
The other matter is this: will David Cameron express his outrage as the Tory leader, will Ian Clement be de-selected as Labour MPs have rightly suffered?
Will Boris be decisive?

Anonymous said...

Interesting (and potentially damaging) snippet from the Standard today re Boris's expenses as an MP (in the print edition - I can't find it online).

The article reveals that Boris was refused an expense claim of £500 to pay Simon Stacpoole, who runs Boriswatch.com (but Mr Stacpoole was paid £1,000 to build a website for Boris in November 2007 - when was Boriswatch.com established?).

So Boris was asking the taxpayer to subsidise his political campaign completely seperate to his constituency work.

And one which makes no mention of its links to Boris http://www.boriswatch.com/about/

Tom said...

Wayback machine dates boriswatch.com to early 2004 at least (first entry 3/3/04), so we can probably rule out direct Boris involvement.

boris-johnson.com dates from 2004, too starting in late September. It was substantially made over in July 2005 and since then it's remained basically the same.

This article from 2005 shows that Stacpoole and Boris were hardly unacquainted (note the mention of Tim Ireland, too).

http://www.boris-johnson.com/2005/03/28/simon-stacpoole-aka-boriswatch-at-westminster/

By November 2007 Boris would have been campaigning for Mayor, surely? When was backboris.com set up, then? Wayback's first entry is September 2007 and ends with this gem:

Media Enquiries
Jo Tanner: 07956 365864
Katie Perrior: 07958 459398

Privacy Policy | Promoted by Dan Ritterband on behalf of Boris Johnson Campaign

By 12/10 it's all changed, and remains the same after that. I'd hazard a guess that Stacpoole might have worked on it at that stage. Seems the most likely candidate.

When was the £500 expense claim submitted?

Anonymous said...

When was the £500 expense claim submitted?

I think in late November 2007, though it's difficult to read the writing on the expenses claim.

The successful £1,000 claim for Stacpoole was in February 2008.

See page 1 and page 10 of http://mpsallowances.parliament.uk/mpslordsandoffices/hocallowances/allowances-by-mp/boris-johnson/Boris_Johnson_0708_CA.pdf

It seems really dodgy at first glance. If this expenditure was eligible it had to be:

a) Connected to his constituency work (and even then it would be poor value for money, give he was only an MP for a couple of months after February)

b) Non-political

It's not apparent this was the case.

I'm sure there's a good explanation. Maybe Boris would like to publish the letter the Fees Office sent back to him regarding why the £500 claim was rejected?

AdamB said...

See Simon's Twitter feed

http://twitter.com/wibbler

AdamB said...

I've put in a question to the Mayor's office.