Monday, 22 June 2009

Ian Clement joins the long list of Boris resignations

Another day, another disposable deputy wheeled out of the spinning doors at City Hall.


You do have to wonder just what has been going on in Boris Johnson's administration.

The man walks in dishing out vanity titles to any local big-wig, financial whizz kid, or snake oil salesman who wants one, and then stands in amazement as they fall down around him.

And even after four of his other senior aides were forced out last year he’s still not learnt his lesson.

Last July when his then Chief of Staff (since resigned) appeared before the London Assembly he said that it would have been too “ball-breaking” for Boris to do the proper checks on Ray Lewis, before adding that:

“we all knew Ray and believed in him… It did not occur to us to doubt any of this stuff.”

The line from Boris’s spokespeople today was much the same. Clement was an elected councillor, who had been scutinised by his electorate, so why should Boris have doubted him?

But how difficult would it have been for them to have at least found this story about Ian Clement before giving him a corporate credit card? One “ball-breaking” Google search?


Or failing that, how difficult would it have been to have worked out what he was doing with that card in this past year? One quick look at his receipts?

In Boris’s statement today he said that:

“In the light of the further discrepancies in your expenses that have emerged this morning, it is clear to both of us that your position is untenable.”

But these “discrepancies” didn’t just emerge this morning. They emerged in the bulk of receipts that his own office and Bexley Council released last week. Receipts that were released only after Dave Hill started asking questions.

Did Boris even bother to read these receipts before offering Clement his backing?

What is he doing with his time up there in City Hall?


Reactions

Green AM Darren Johnson said today:

"The announcement is no surprise given the questions surrounding the use of his corporate credit card, but there are still lots of questions that need answering. Assembly Members will certainly want to know why it has taken so long for this to be dealt with and what checks are in place to prevent it happening again."

Chair of BMAC Committee Jennette Arnold AM said:

“Ian Clement’s repeated misuse of his City Hall credit card was clearly a serious breach of Greater London Authority rules for which he has answered with his job. However, Mr Clement’s resignation cannot be considered an end to the matter. Serious questions remain about how long the misuse of the card continued, apparently undetected, and the type of expenditure that was charged to the GLA without being repaid. These issues will be pursued by Assembly Members at Wednesday’s meeting of BMAC, where we will question the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Sir Simon Milton and GLA Executive Director of Resources Martin Clarke.”


Lib Dem leader Mike Tuffrey Am said:

“Today another senior Mayoral adviser bites the dust. In just one year the number of senior advisers to the Mayor who have been sacked, or forced to resign, could make a five aside football team.

“Ian Clement’s resignation was inevitable but three fundamental questions still need to be answered by the Mayor.

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

“Secondly, 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 of his senior staff? Only this step will allow the public to judge what type of regime the Mayor is really running at City Hall.”

James Cleverly (Conservative AM for Bexley and Bromley)

"it looks like Ian has been stupid and greedy at best. I'm angry and disappointed.

"I won't pretend that this won't add to the local anger caused by Derek Conway's behaviour but both these issues are personal failings of individuals both of which were dealt with decisively by the party."

20 comments:

Helen said...

So much for this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7498446.stm

Chris said...

'another one bites the dust' indeed. I wonder what this ones golden handshake will be.

Rayyan said...

Can you put a list of resigned deputies in the side of your blog please? Having trouble keeping track. By my reckoning, the list goes like this:

Ray Lewis - deputy mayor for youth (financial & sex scandals, lied about being a JP)
James McGrath - senior political strategist (racist remarks on radio)
Tim Parker - first deputy mayor (couldn't get his way with cuts)
David Ross - senior 2012 aide (share-selling scandal)
Ian Clement - deputy mayor for government (corporate credit card expenses scam)

AdamB said...

You can add Bob Diamond to that (resigned as head of Mayor's fund after a few weeks - reason unknown)

Anonymous said...

So is Clement out of a job now then? Didn't he quit as a councillor?

AdamB said...

He did yes. No more free curries for Ian.

PhilC said...

What with Speaker election, Iran and Wimbledon a good day to bury bad news. A coincidence?

AdamB said...

Definitely not a coincidence. Today was the best chance to slip this news out before his appearance on Wednesday before the Assembly.

Not to mention the new Tory alliance in Europe slipped out today as well.

Don't Call Me Dave said...

According to LBC news this afternoon, Barnet Council Mike Freer has denied having lunch with Ian Clement. The schedule published on the GLA website says they had lunch at The Blue Olive on 5th November 2008 (£72.50).

http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/team/expenses/index.jsp

If it wasn’t lunch with Mike Freer, who was it with? If Clement has been making up lunch guests, isn’t this fraud?

Are there any other fictitious guests on this list?

AdamB said...

Paul Waugh confirms this.

It would be well worth checking that list. And yes it does sound like it may be fraud. Not that he'll ever be charged with anything.

AdamB said...

I've posted an expanded version of this at Liberal Conspiracy.

Barry Rochford said...

Burying bad news?
They've almost cremated it!
Can you imagine if this was Ken?
Where's Gilligan? The silence is deafening!

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Well now we know there were three lunches where the dining guests were not Conservative council leaders as Clement claimed, but one of his girlfriends.

If he is not prosecuted for fraud, then there is no hope for democracy.

Anonymous said...

Not only stupid and silly, but a foolish man going through a mid life crisis who has taken up with a young lady young enough to be his daughter by all accounts.

tulip

Anonymous said...

Where's Gilligan? Er... Gilligan wrote or co-wrote all the stories which exposed Clement.

AdamB said...

No he didn't. The story was first broken a week earlier by Dave Hill. Gilligan has since got a joint byline on two of the stories about Clement.

David Davis (not that one) said...

We also have to ask ourselves, and ask the Enemy, too:-

Why does Boris's administration come in for all this stick, and the fascist lefty pig Livingstone did not?

Who's in charge of the media, and why have they not been taken care of yet, and thus replaced by more reliable people?

Look, we are fighting desperate lefty fascists here, who will stick at nothing. We have to be, as Stalin would have said, "serious" about the buggers.

AdamB said...

It's hard to work out what's parody and what's wingnuttery these days. Bleeding internet.

David Davis (not that one) said...

Yup I am for real.

Look, Ian Clement it a prize-1-twat. I agree. He ought to be "taken care of." We can't have these loose-cannons in our movement. It is "not serious" of us, and we can be tripped up.

But I don't sort of, er, see, er, any kind of witch-hunt against any people who worked for Ken Livingstone, so were they all utterly incorruptible, saintly, un-mistressed and au-lunched human beings, or what?

Just askin'....

AdamB said...

Wingnut it is then. Thanks for clearing that up.