City Hall officials have held initial discussions with the Police over Ian Clement’s expense claims, Members of the London Assembly Business Management and Administration Committee were told this morning.
Martin Clarke, Executive Director for Resources at the Greater London, told members that in light of Clement’s disputed expense claims the Authority has referred the matter to the Met.
It’s understood the police are due to have further meetings with Authority figures in the days ahead before confirming whether there will be a formal investigation.
AMs have been questioning Clarke and Mayoral advisor Sir Simon Milton in the wake of Clement’s departure earlier this week after further discrepancies in Clement’s expenses came to light.
The committee were told that Clement was allowed to resign rather than be sacked as it was “the cleanest” way of him leaving and “cheapest” for the taxpayer. Clement has offered to repay any further disputed claims.
Giving evidence, Milton appeared to suggest Johnson had ordered Clement to hand over his corporate credit card in August when he first discovered he held it. Speaking to MayorWatch after the hearing, Milton clarified that there had been no direct instruction to return the card at that point.
Told that Clement’s most recent expenses were personally signed off my the Mayor, the committee agreed to request that Johnson appear before them at a future date.
Earlier this year responsibility for signing off the expenses of Mayoral advisors was transferred from officers in the finance department to the Mayor’s office. However City Hall is keen to stress that the Mayor only sees the approved claims and was not told that there had been a series of disallowed items.
In a sign that the Administration has recognised the PR disaster caused by reports of successive ‘deputy mayors’ resigning, MayorWatch has been told it is “unlikely” Clement’s successor will hold the deputy mayor title and that no future Mayoral advisor is likely to be given it.
Following today’s meeting Liberal Democrat Assembly leader Mike Tuffrey said “Serious questions remain about why Boris Johnson personally approved these claims, when staff knew there was a history of irregularities. The Mayor now needs to come and explain himself to the Assembly.”