The needless spin of Boris Johnson’s City Hall

Not for the first time it seems Boris Johnson’s administration is tweaking the truth for political advantage.

After being caught passing off the appointment of Sir Martin Sorrell as a Johnson initiative tonight City Hall claims the Mayor has “fulfilled a manifesto pledge to make London Government accountable and transparent by hosting his first People’s Question Time”.

Small problem with this claim, People’s Question Time is a legal requirement under the Greater London Authority Act 1999 and also took place under former Ken Livingstone. Failing any change in the law it’ll take place under Johnson’s successor.

For a while I wondered if I’d managed to miss the news that Boris had implemented his promise and had held six meetings since being elected  but the Mayor’s own press release confirms this is his first and the london.gov.uk website also confirms that the last event was held in March.

As such tonight’s event doesn’t make London Government any more “accountable and transparent” than it was before May’s election.

If Boris wants to increase the transparency of his administration he could start by ending these rather feeble and pointless attempts at spin.

Comments

  1. Damian Hockney says

    PQT is a useful exercise in holding the Mayor to account but as you rightly say, it is statutory – he is obliged to hold it. What is more important is the approach of the Mayor to dealing with media and in access. The former Mayor held his press conference even when he was in the eye of a storm (I can only remember one or maybe two occasions when I would say he cancelled because he felt uneasy about facing the press). People often adopt a rather strange attitude to the press, as if “we shouldn’t kowtow to THEM”, but the media has far greater resources to hold to account that the bodies charged with the task. Whatever the media may sometimes do, it is essentially and ultimately on the side of the voters. Any politicians who really limits access wishes to be less transparent. There is much evidence that the Mayor is limiting access.