Ray Lewis, the so-called Deputy Mayor for Young People has resigned with immediate effect after it emerged he is not, as previously stated, a Justics of the Peace.
Lewis yesterday became embroiled in a number of allegations dating back to his time as Church of England vicar, Mr Lewis has denied all the charges against him.
Speaking on Thursday Mayor Johnson defended Lewis saying the allegations “did not stop him from becoming a JP”. Speaking at the same press conference Lewis said he had “never knowingly done anything that would be inconsistent with my position as a Justice of the Peace”.
In additon the official City Hall website stays of Lewis: “After working at HM
Prison Woodhill, Milton Keynes, Ray became Executive Director of
Eastside Young Leaders’ Academy in 2001. He is also a Trustee and
Governor of the Petchey Academy in Hackney and a Justice of the Peace.”
However today the Department of Justice said the Mayor’s aide “is not and has never been a magistrate”.
Downplaying the obvious discrepancy Mr Lewis used a City Hall press release to say: “If you are fully paid up members of the ‘hair splitters’ convention it will have made a difference to you whether or not I was appointed or recommended for appointment.”
Lewis said he had “passed all the interviews for it. I’ve had a letter confirming that I have been recommended for appointment to the board.”
Mayor Johnson used the same statement to attempt to reverse his previous unqualified support of Lewis admitting “I cannot deny…that my confidence in Ray was shaken by the discovery today that he is not a fully fledged Justice of the Peace and I cannot deny that to be misled on this issue has made it harder for me to give Ray the backing necessary to continue in his role as Deputy Mayor”.
It currently seems unlikely that Johnson will appoint a successor to Lewis. A briefing to journalists reveals that the Mayor “is taking personal charge of the young people agenda, which he regards as the most urgent and key priority for the administration.”
Lewis was the first major appointment of Johnson’s tenure and was given the honourific job title of ‘Deputy Mayor’ with special responsibility for leading on youth crime issues.
At last week’s State of London debate Lewis was accused of not responding to emails and letters, a claim he failed to deny at the time.
Yeterday Mr Lewis claimed he was “happy to face questioning and investigation on all these charges”, just 24 hours later he says he has stepped down because “I cannot allow the things going on around me to obscure the important business of this very important mayor.”
Former Mayor Ken Livingstone said tonight “In a mere two months in office Boris Johnson has already suffered the second resignation from among his most senior officials – Deputy Mayor Ray Lewis following Deputy Chief of Staff James McGrath two weeks ago.”
“‘In my entire eight years in office I suffered only one enforced resignation of any of my most senior officials, Lee Jasper – and that only after seven years – and this extreme contrast shows vividly the incompetence of Boris Johnson and his administration”
Commenting on the support Lewis has previously enjoyed from the highest ranks of the Conservative Party Mr Livingstone said the resignation was “an equal crisis for David Cameron who, it should be remembered, chose to make his first photo opportunity as Tory leader with Ray Lewis.”