Daily Archives: June 26, 2009

Getting under the skin

Is it OK to admit growing respect for Mike Tuffrey, the GLA LibDem? He seems to be doing a creditable job on London’s racketty mayorality.

Here he is, a month ago:

“It is bitterly disappointing that after seven months of negotiation we discover that the Mayor has fallen so far short of his key pledge he made to Londoners.

“A year ago the Mayor promised that he would actually deliver 50,000 more affordable homes within three years. The Mayor has not even reached an agreement for half of the new homes he promised would be built.”

Blasted Boris’s original pledges were cast iron:

The TfL Property Development Strategy team have identified surplus land on which some 7,000 residential homes could be built.” (page 9  of the Johnson Housing Manifesto)

The LDA owns 318 hectares of surplus land suitable for residential development which they estimate would provide 32,000 new homes. (page 10, ditto).

Well, there’s 80% of the promise already ready to go: so, going into month 14, where’s the delivery?

In recent days, Tuffrey has taken aim at the Ian Clements debacle:

“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.”

That was followed up with:

“Since March 2009 the Mayor has been personally responsible for approving the expense claims of his Deputy Mayors.

“Serious questions remain about why Boris Johnson personally approved these claims, when staff knew there was a history of irregularities. The Mayor now needs to come and explain himself to the Assembly.

“Attention also has to turn to scrutinising the thousand of pounds in other expenses that Ian Clement has claimed, but which do not appear on the GLA’s corporate credit card statements.

“For the future, there must be line-item disclosure of individual expense claims for the Mayor, for all mayoral advisers and Assembly Members, on-line and available to the Audit Committee.”

There seems no way Johnson can climb out from under that particular train-wreck. He apparently assumed, but did not specifically order the withdrawal of Clements’ card last August. Ignorance may be bliss; but Johnson was regularly and personally endorsing further financing of Clements’ boozing and canoodling up to the last week. And Johnson’s “excuse”:

Sir Simon [Milton] replied that the Mayor could not be expected to “check every heading” that he signed.

Even allowing that, as Val Shawcross has it, Johnson doesn’t “do detail”, it all sounds like a variant on the Eichmann Defence.

Kudos to Tuffrey and all others driving the nails in and the message home.

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Filed under Boris Johnson, Lib Dems, London, sleaze.