Lee Jasper, Ken Livingstone’s advisor on policing and equal opportunities has resigned from his job with immediate effect.
Jasper, who last month asked the Mayor to call for a police investigation into allegations surrounding the allocation of money by the London Development Agency, announced his resignation in a letter to the Mayor:
I am proud of my record in contributing to the huge reduction in racist attacks in London, the work I have carried out in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service in relation to Operation Trident, reductions in the levels of domestic violence and the increased employment of Black, Asian and women officers.
Further, the work we delivered in ensured equality in London is delivered has been astounding.
However, it has become clear that a number of matters which are not of first importance in London are being used to distract from the crucial questions in the election campaign.
The racist nature of a relentless media campaign and the consequent effects on myself and family have placed an intolerable strain on all of us.
I have decided to put a stop to this by tendering my resignation.
As yet there has been no reaction from the Mayor however a spokesperson for the Greater London Authority issued the following statement:
“The record of the GLA in dealing with racism in London has been outstanding. Racist attacks have been reduced by more than a half in eight years, and last year racist attacks rose by 12 per cent in the UK as a whole by fell by 14 per cent in London.
Operation Trident, aimed against black gun crime, has been an outstanding success with the arrest of many dozens of criminals engaged with guns without a single shot being fired.
The GLA is an exemplary authority achieving national recognition in the country in regard to equality and procurement.
Lee Jasper played a leading role in regard to these, and no evidence has been presented for the criminal allegations presented by the Evening Standard.
However Lee Jasper has stated that in light of material published today that he has tendered his resignation. The Mayor has accepted it.”
Livingstone’s rivals in May’s elections have been giving their reaction to the news. Tory Candidate Boris Johnson said: “Ken Livingstone has been standing by his man for years and in particular in recent months as allegation after allegation has emerged.
The Mayor has repeatedly assured Londoners that there is a full audit trail for spent public money and that he trusts Lee Jasper with his life.
The resignation of one of the Labour Mayor’s most senior and trusted advisers is further proof that Ken Livingstone has had his day.
He has repeatedly said he is directly responsible for the actions of his advisers and he should take Jasper’s place tomorrow and answer the questions that Jasper won’t.
Otherwise Londoners can only conclude he is arrogant and out of touch. Londoners deserve to know where their hard-earned cash has gone.”
Liberal Democrat Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick, said: “The fact that Lee Jasper has resigned the day before he was due to give an account of himself to the London Assembly is no coincidence.
Lee Jasper was personally appointed by Ken Livingstone and has enjoyed his unconditional support up until today. His resignation raises serious questions about the Mayor’s judgement and his improbable claims that there is nothing wrong with his administration.
Increasingly, black Londoners are asking me to get in and clean up City Hall, saying I am the only candidate they trust. This proves that the controversy surrounding Lee Jasper is about incompetence and the improper use of taxpayers’ money. It is not about race.”