The London Assembly Labour party is accusing Boris Johnson of not co-operating with an independent investigation into the controversial Royal Albert Dock property deal. A recent report from Channel 4 News alleged that there were inappropriately close links between London & Partners, London's official promotional company, and ABP, the Chinese developers who won the contract.
At Mayor's Question Time last week Assembly Members were perturbed to hear the Mayor refer to an internal audit report which was put online during the meeting itself, so they had no time to scrutinise its findings. The report, which was commissioned following enquiries made by Channel 4 News in the days leading up to its 13 November broadcast, is a "desk top review" of documentation and interviews with staff who are still with the organisation. The report completely exonerated the process:
"The procurement process followed was in line with the strategic approach and the LDA’s Procurement Code and Standing Orders and the GLA’s Contract and Funding Code, Financial Regulations, Scheme of Delegation and EU procurement requirements."
The Assembly describes itself as "troubled" that the report failed to investigate charges of human rights abuses by ABP and asked the Mayor to set up an independent investigation, and appear before the Assembly's Audit Panel and Economy Committee and Planning Committee. Boris Johnson has responded (PDF):
"I should remind you that the GLA's internal audit team operates independently and impartially. This audit was not 'undertaken by the Mayor' as your letter suggests... I will of course ensure that as many of my Advisers attend [the Assembly's committees] as you require along with the lead GLA officials. I do not think it appropriate or necessary for me to attend in the first instance. I would of course be happy to answer any remaining questions you have at the end of the scrutiny reviews."
So that's a refusal to open an independent investigation, but also not exactly a refusal to co-operate with the Assembly's own scrutiny. And not much nearer to getting Channel 4's questions answered.