Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Boris Johnson "aware" of secret donors

Boris Johnson today refused to release the source of a seven figure donation to his Mayor's Fund for London.

The existence of the donation from a "major bank" was first revealed last month, but the Mayor today declined to reveal who they were, saying only that:

"I am aware of the donor’s identity."

Boris has previously insisted that he would not be told the identity of donors to his charity, because of possible conflicts of interest.

Writing in response to a question from Liberal Democrat AM Mike Tuffrey last year he argued that:

"naming donors might give rise to the suggestion that certain individuals expect something in return for their donations. For this reason, I have agreed that I should not be informed of the names of the individual donors."

He has also previously refused to release more general details about the fund's supporters or funding partners

However it is now clear that the Mayor is not only aware of the source of at least two major donations, but is actively involved in encouraging others.

And while under electoral law all donations to Boris's political campaign must be declared, no such rule applies to donations to the Mayor's Fund.

Boris has repeatedly described the Mayor's Fund as an "independent non-political" charity.

However, far from being independent, it is actually based on the third floor of City Hall itself and has the Mayor as the sole patron.

And while he argues that "listing out individual donations might adversely impact on the level of donations" this does not alter the fact that the current set up is open to abuse.

As Mike Tuffrey said last year:

"I hope that this new charity is successful over the next few years.

"However we should not pretend this is just an ordinary charity. The Mayor must take steps to avoid the inevitable accusation that some donors are seeking to influence or win favour with him.

"I urge the Mayor to ensure that all donations of £1,000 or more are formally declared and open to public inspection. Large donations that are not publicly declared will generate controversy and in the long term harm the reputation of the charity."

The Charity Commission is very clear that all charities should maintain neutrality and independence from political parties.

No such independence or neutrality is possible with the Mayor's Fund for London.

If Boris is really committed to "cleaning up" London politics, then he should ensure that these conflicts of interest are dealt with right away.

-Update- Via Dave Hill I see that Barclays announced a £1million donation to MFL in December. Is this the seven figure donation?


SoleTrader said...

This is outrageous and a sign of how deeply corrupt the Conservative party is. I joined when Cameron was at his most popular and believed they'd changed but as time has moved on it's becoming clear that we were all hoodwinked. Boris Johnson simply has to resign but I doubt he has the character to do it. I really see no other alternative but to consider my membership wasted money and vote Labour in protest.

AdamB said...

I'm not entirely convinced by the authenticity of that comment. Is there an election coming up?

SoleTrader said...

Brown has steel and got us through the crisis. Cameron and his mob are just being shown up as a bunch of chancers. They've had enough opportunities and are falling apart so I'm going with what works.

Anonymous said...

"About Mayor's Fund for London" first picture: Boris in front of a camera. Says it all really.

Brian Coleman aka Mr Toad has GOT to go said...

Boris Johnson's zeal in cleaning up London politics is tempered only by political expediency.

Like with the whole ballgown Bertha affair for example.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

"I am aware of the donor’s identity."

Avon Barksdale?

Karl said...

So this is the same tory party who are open and transparent and have nothing to hide, is it?

I did wonder why he spent so much time and so many headlines sticking up for the poor bankers.

Anthony said...

This is Transparency and Accountability with open and clear politic's Boris Johnson style! ,remember Boris Johnsons manifesto and campaigning promises!well I think that it is fair to say " We have been conned and lied to ".

Anthony said...

This is Transparency and Accountability with open and clear politic's Boris Johnson style! ,remember Boris Johnsons manifesto and campaigning promises!well I think that it is fair to say " We have been conned and lied to ".

Richard (London) said...

Boris has admitted he knows who the donor of a 7 figure sum is. A donation directly aimed at him. Is this a donation in relation to blindingly stupid support of airport expansion?

Boris and any other candidate and elected mayor should have to make public all donations > £1,000. Not doing so may give way to hidden agendas- not those we voted for.