Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Boris Johnson refuses to reveal City Hall meetings with Lynton Crosby

Boris Johnson has refused to reveal how many meetings he has held with his campaign manager in City Hall, despite a Freedom of Information request from this blog.

Asked to list meetings between Boris, his staff and Lynton Crosby since May 2008 his office replied that:

I refer you to the Mayor's recent answer to a Mayor's Question from John Biggs:

Which states simply that Boris has met him "on a very few occasions."

However, while unwilling to reveal the details of Boris's meetings with Mr Crosby they did reveal that:

"In terms of the Mayor's staff, the Mayor's Private Secretary met Lynton Crosby once to cover diary requests for the use of his time on 26 September 2011 at City Hall. Sir Edward Lister also attended this meeting, which lasted under 30 minutes. The Mayor's Private Secretary and Chief of Staff were both conducting this meeting in support of the office of Mayor. "

So why can they list meetings that the Mayor's staff have had with Mr Crosby but not meetings the Mayor himself has had with him?

And why is the Mayor's Chief of Staff, a politically restricted post, holding meetings with Boris's election campaign manager anyway?

Well unfortunately I can't tell you. According to their response:

"These meetings were not documented."

So that's a meeting inside City Hall between a senior non-political officer and the chief of Boris's political campaign, and nobody thought to take minutes?

The more they try to avoid answering these questions, the more it looks like they've got something to hide.

See also:

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Boris welcomes George Osborne's "cynical" pre-election fares cap

Boris Johnson speaking about politicians "cynically" holding down fare increases before an election:
"What I will not do is play politics with fares. I will not go into an election promising to hold them down and then cynically whack them up, which is what you would expect from my predecessor"
"What we will not do is go for crazy artificial freezes in fares in the run-up to an election and then whack them up cynically thereafter"

Which is presumably why Boris today welcomed George Osborne's decision to er, cynically and artificially hold down his fare increases before the election.

And no doubt if fare rises go back to RPI + 2% post the election as planned, Boris will be the first to condemn himself for such a cynical move?

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Boris Johnson's false crime claims exposed

Boris Johnson's claims to have drastically cut crime since becoming Mayor are based on figures from three years before he was elected, this blog can reveal.

The Mayor's campaign website and Twitter feed have repeatedly claimed that Boris has cut crime by a whopping 9% across London. 

However, analysis of the Metropolitan Police figures shows that there has been a much more modest fall of around 5% since 2007-8 (or just 3% since 2008-09)

Under the heading "Since I became Mayor in 2008" they claim that: 

"Robberies are down 18.5%." 

However, the most recent figures show that robbery has actually risen by 4.6% across London since the end of Ken Livingstone's term in 2007-8.

The campaign's borough level stats are also incorrect. On a recent visit to Tower Hamlets, Boris's campaign claimed that there had been a 14.2% fall in crime in the borough.

However, analysis of the figures shows that crime has fallen by just 5% since 2007 and has actually risen by 6% since 2008-09 

A spokesperson for Boris's campaign said the borough figures were based on comparing crime levels in May 2010 with crime levels in May 2006, two years before Boris became Mayor.

Their claim that crime has fallen by 9% under Boris was based on an even more historical figure, comparing crime levels in May 2011, with crime levels in May 2005.

In other words Boris is taking credit for falls in crime that took place three whole years before he walked through the door at City Hall.

Yesterday Boris hit out at the chair of the UK Statistics Authority who had criticised his previous misleading use of statistics.

Rather than admit his errors (deliberate or otherwise) Boris accused the Chair of the UKSA of being a "Labour stooge." This was also not true.

A spokesperson for Boris's campaign said yesterday that they had used crime figures from three years before Boris became mayor in order to get as accurate a picture as possible. 

They also said that they were in the process of updating their figures.

-Update- Boris's team have been in touch to make it clear that they were comparing crime between 2005-2008 with crime between 2008-2011, rather than comparing crime between 2005 with 2011 as I was told yesterday. So they were using a different set of wrong figures to the ones they told me originally.