Assembly groups unite in attack on Mayor

Opposition parties on the Assembly joined forces to attack the Mayor. Photo: MayorWatch
Boris Johnson faced a co-ordinated attempt to portray him as the man who “misled Londoners” as Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat members of the London Assembly joined forces at this month’s Mayor’s Question Time.

In what was an ill-tempered meeting, Assembly Chair had to remind AMs and the Mayor about their behaviour and at one point threatened to suspend the meeting.

Assembly Members, citing promises in the Mayor’s 2008 election manifesto, highlighted his failure to bring in orbital bus routes and his increasing of the congestion charge despite a vow not to in their attempt to make the charge stick.

Responding to criticism from Liberal Democrat Mike Tuffrey that he would fail to build 50,000 new homes by 20111, the Mayor insisted he’d conceded this issue “two years ago” and said the recession had made it impossible to meet the target.

The Mayor also questioned central Government figures presented by Labour AM Nicky Gavron which she said proved the Mayor would complete less homes during his term than predecessor Ken Livingstone.

Johnson was challenged over an increase in the number of staff earning more than £100,000 per year at both Transport for London and City Hall despite election rhetoric in which he condemned the number of highly paid managers employed across the Greater London Authority.

In response the Mayor said he did not accept the benchmark of the Prime Minister’s salary as a valid one and insisted his term had seen a fall in the overall salary bill across the Greater London Authority.

Mr Johnson highlighted the decision of TfL’s David Brown to move to the private sector where he would earn “triple his income” and warned it would be “a false economy” to strip out “the top echelon of TfL” merely to reduce wages.

In an exchange over transport strikes, Tory group leader Roger Evans claimed Labour AMs were”keen to play down” the threat because of the links between unions and Ken Livingstone, Labour’s 2012 Mayoral candidate.

Ahead of the meeting Labour’s Len Duvall said: “Some of the claims Boris Johnson has made either when he was trying to get elected or since he became Mayor just don’t stand up. Whether it’s the bankers who were meant to be leaving because of taxes or the supposedly record number of affordable homes he’s building – Londoners have clearly been misled.”

Liberal Democrat and Green AMs have been accused of “gravitating towards Labour” by Conservative AM James Cleverly who criticised them for taking part in a “transparent and amateurish” attack on the Mayor.

Comments

  1. Nick Biskinis says

    Boris Johnson’s claim that TfL staff need to be paid lots otherwise they’ll go to the private sector is absurd: it is the poor quality of some senior TfL staff that has caused the mismanagement of resources within the organisation. In the 1930s London Transport was led by people who had an ethos of public service and were dedicated to making London’s transport the best in the world: they didn’t need bonuses just for turning up.

    TfL by contrast has many overpaid officers in non-jobs (eg ‘communications managers’) who do very little and are paid exorbitantly. This is underpinned by a lack of quality control and the Peter Principle. If TfL staff have no interest in transport or public service, fine let them go off – why bribe them to stay when they don’t actually do a particularly good job?

    Time to call their bluff: there are many others who could do their jobs at TfL and at a lower rate.