Another One Bites The Dust

By Jonn Last edited 111 months ago
Another One Bites The Dust

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Image courtesy of the UCL Conservative Society under a Creative Commons Attribution licence
Think back to those heady days of April 2008, and you might remember Boris Johnson pledging to bring a new tone to London politics. Ken Livingstone, he said, was "treating the voters with contempt". The ever fair and balanced Evening Standard made it quite plain it thought Livingstone was complacent, corrupt and had dodgy friends. Johnson, it hinted, would be whiter than white.

And the voters, it seemed, agreed.

A lot has happened since then. Last June aide James McGrath politely suggested that any immigrants who had a problem with the new Mayor were quite welcome to go back where they came from, and quickly found himself clearing his desk. The next month deputy mayor Ray Lewis stood down over "financial and sexual misconduct". And the month after that "first deputy" Tim Parker went following questions about whether an unelected official should be doing large chunks of Boris's job.

Now a third deputy mayor has gone. Ian Clement had been using his corporate credit card to pay for plane tickets, bar bills, and various other things suspiciously disconnected from his job. Most of these he'd repaid, and Boris last week gave his backing. But there have since turned out to be "further discrepancies", and yesterday the Mayor described Clement's position as "untenable."

So, that's three down, three to go.

There are two ways of reading this. Either Johnson is demonstrating his commitment to cleaner politics by making it clear that rule-breakers will walk the plank. Or his administration has turned out to be dodgier than Ken could ever dream of. Which reading you choose, we suspect, depends on your political persuasion.

At any rate, the Clement affair isn't over yet. Johnson's angry statement also runs through Clement's City Hall CV, just to remind us he wasn't all bad. But the Assembly's offering isn't half so kind. "Serious issues remain about how long the misuse of the card continued undetected," warns Jennette Arnold AM. Her committee will be asking serious questions of GLA staff at a meeting on Wednesday.

We're wondering if Boris regrets being quite so vehement in his pursuit of Lee Jasper about now.

Last Updated 23 June 2009