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?
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."