Boris Johnson’s decision to ignore advice from senior colleagues and political opponents alike by handing out the “bauble” job title of ‘deputy mayor’ to his advisors further tarnished the Greater London Authority today after former aide Ian Clement was charged with fraud.
Clement, Johnson’s so-called deputy mayor for government and external Relations, resigned in June after a number of allegations about his use of a City Hall credit card.
A subsequent meeting of the London Assembly Business Management and Administration Committee revealed Johnson had personally signed off Clement’s most recent expenses, prompting calls for the Mayor to appear before the committee.
The meeting also heard that City Hall officials had called in the police in light of Clement’s disputed expense claims.
Following negative headlines surrounding the departures of ‘first deputy mayor’ Time Parker and ‘deputy mayor’ Ray Lewis, Clement’s resignation led senior administration figures to concede the error of misusing the ‘deputy mayor’ job title, resulting in Johnson ‘clarifying’ the role of his advisors.
Johnson withdrew the job title of ‘Director’ from a number of appointees, announcing that in future post holders would be referred to as ‘Mayoral Advisor’, a more accurate description of their status.
The decision to shower aides with “bauble” job titles even managed to confuse the Mayor over their respective responsibilities. At the first Mayor’s Question Time of his term, Johnson publicly denied Ian Clement was taking planning decisions on his behalf before being shown a letter from Clement stating otherwise.
City Hall today declined to comment on the latest development, a spokesman for the Mayor would only say: “We are aware of this, but this is a matter for the Metropolitan police and the Crown Prosecution Service.”
According to the Guardian, Mr Clement’s solicitor has issued the following statement: “Mr Clement is surprised and saddened that the CPS should have felt that prosecution was appropriate. He has co-operated fully with the investigation which relates to five meal expense claims which have a total value of £227.00. In the context of other, far more significant, investigations it is a matter of regret that political expediency appears to be present.”