The last time Boris sat before the London Assembly he had pretty bad morning, any hopes he might of had of an easier ride at this morning’s first session of the new term will have crumbled as one Tory AM after another opposed his flagship policies.
Andrew Boff and others were vocal in their opposition to Boris’s plans to spend London Development Agency cash on setting up City Academies, several AMs wanted him to promise huge cuts in expenditure and jobs and Brian Coleman managed not only to clash with Boris but also to dismiss David Cameron’s plans to cut MPs wages and axe their subsidised meals as “red herrings”.
Not exactly onside with central Tory policy himself, Comrade Boris lectured one Tory AM on the wider cost to society and the public purse in cutting public sector jobs.
Things got pretty heated between Coleman and Johnson, with the Mayor suggesting that those calling for cuts in expenditure while in receipt of more than one GLA salary might want to think about giving up one of them.
Bubbling under the surface there’s always been some dissent within the ranks of Tory AMs but today’s outbursts of disunity were the clearest sign yet of the gulf between Boris and his colleagues.
If getting bashed by his own side wasn’t bad enough, Labour’s Val Shawcross scored some good hits on the bendy bus front, Boris couldn’t say what their removal is costing despite it being a “flagship policy” and looked painfully uncomfortable when she pointed out that the new buses are unlikely to reduce fare evasion because they, like the bendies, allow rear door entry.
Not for the first time it was left to a Tory AM to rescue the Mayor with a coherent and fact-based argument, this time Roger Evans rode to the rescue with a case for scrapping the articulated beasts.
He looked grateful for the help but some time soon our cycling Mayor is going to need to face the Assembly without the use of stabilisers.