Boris Johnson has been accused of “double standards” after Conservative mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith was allowed to address a City Hall event attended by Tory politicians and activists.
Pictures from Twitter show that the Mayor also addressed the audience which included current Conservative London Assembly members and candidates standing in this May’s Assembly elections.
Critics say the mayor’s willingness to let Mr Goldsmith to speak at the event is at odds with his decision to ban Ken Livingstone from holding an event in the build up to the 2012 mayoral contest.
The former mayor, who was hoping to regain the mayoralty from Mr Johnson, had planned to speak at an event organised by the London Assembly Labour group to highlight the New Year’s fares hike.
Despite a booking for City Hall’s function room being accepted, permission for the PR stunt was later rescinded with a Greater London Authority spokesperson saying: “The Mayor has decided that it would be inappropriate to allow the booking to go ahead in light of its timing in relation to the impending 2012 mayoral and Assembly elections.”
City Hall have told MayorWatch that the two events aren’t comparable because Thursday’s was the Conservative Assembly group’s standard annual reception whereas the planned 2012 gathering was a “Labour party-organised political campaign event”.
Mr Johnson’s office say the guest list included “representatives from the GLA functional bodies and a wide range of other stakeholders” in addition to Conservative politicians.
A spokesperson for the Mayor said: “For the avoidance of any doubt it is standard practice for the GLA’s independent monitoring officer to review all such invitations.
“In line with that practice the monitoring officer reviewed this event and approved it as permissible under GLA rules.”
However Len Duvall, Labour’s leader on the London Assembly, said the Mayor was guilty of “double standards,” adding: “This is typical Boris, yet again it’s one rule for him and and another for everyone else”.