Boris Johnson announces new Chief of Staff

Wandsworth council leader Edward Lister has been named as Boris Johnson’s new Chief of Staff and planning advisor following last week’s news of Sir Simon Milton’s death.

Mr Lister, who has been leader of Wandsworth since 1992, will have responsibility for the Mayor’s budgets and will oversee City Hall’s relationships with London’s boroughs.

In a statement the Mayor said his new appointee “has the perfect combination of experience, character and expertise to help me lead this city out of recession and harness the unique opportunity of the 2012 Games to secure London for another generation as the best big city in the world.”

Johnson added: “We will always mourn the loss of Simon Milton. The greatest tribute we can pay him is to deliver in the areas that mattered so much to him and improve the lives of Londoners in the great city that he loved. Edward Lister shares that goal.”

Lister said he was “delighted to be joining Boris Johnson to take forward his ambitious vision for this great city.”

As with his predecessor, Lister has been given the honorary job title of ‘deputy mayor for planning’ and will earn £127,784 per year in his new post.

City Hall says the appointment “is part of a more extensive strengthening of the Mayoral team to continue cutting crime, delivering a better transport system and improve the quality of Londoners’ lives.”

Wandsworth Council has confirmed Lister is stepping down as Leader ahead of starting at City Hall next month.

Responding to the appointment, London Assembly Chair Dee Doocey said: “Assembly Members across the political spectrum had established a good working relationship with the Mayor’s former Chief of Staff, Sir Simon Milton, based on mutual respect and openness, and a shared desire to do what is right for London.

“We look forward to forging an equally productive relationship based on similar principles with Edward Lister in his pivotal role at City Hall.”

A spokesman for Labour Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone claimed Johnson “shows through this central appointment that his administration is deepest Tory Thatcherite blue.

“This right wing Tory pedigree will feel at home with a Tory administration at City Hall which is squeezing fare payers while cutting vital services like the police.”