Ken Livingstone has called on London Assembly Members to join him in setting “clear working time commitments that they would have to meet in return for their salaries and that both he and the Assembly should make a formal decision to that effect.”
In a letter sent to all parties on the Assembly Mr Livingstone asks for proposals as to the commitment that should be required of Assembly, but said that his own view is that this should amount to at least four full working days a week.
The Mayor’s letter coincides with a meeting of the Greater London Authority’s Standards Committee which is discussing the GLA’s code of conduct.
According to a statement issued by the Mayor’s office the initiative follows “advice from Leading Counsel that the Greater London Authority has grounds to seek higher levels of working time commitment and higher standards of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Assembly members than is the case with other councillors around the country, because of the extensive power that they, as a relatively small group, exercise over such a large and important area of public administration.”
One City Hall insider suggested this evening that the Mayor’s letter forms the beginning of an assault on those parties with AMs who hold non-Greater London Authority roles such as Councillor, MP or Member of the House of Lords.
Mr Livingstone said: “London government is a full time job. In every other walk of life it is a basic requirement that people are expected to put in an agreed minimum work commitment in return for their salary. I think Londoners expect this to apply to the Mayor and London Assembly Members, particularly given the importance of the jobs we do.
“The responsibilities given to the Mayor mean this office should require commitment of all one’s working time. I hope Assembly members will agree that they should also be required to put in the great majority of the working week in return for their salaries.”
Damian Hockney, leader of the One London Party which has two Members on the Assembly, told MayorWatch the Mayor was “wilfully confusing time serving with effectiveness” adding “he is effectively trying to score political points in the run-up to the Mayoral election.”
Comment: If They Turn Up Will We Listen?