Sir Simon Milton is to stand down as a Westminster Councillor and as Chairman of the Local Government Association to enable him to advise Mayor of London Boris Johnson on planning matters, City Hall confirmed this evening.
Milton was originally announced as taking a role in Johnson’s administration on 6th May however the appointment ran into problems as Milton’s status as a local Councillor meant he wasn’t allowed to take up a salaried role within the Greater London Authority.
Milton’s role was then downgraded to that of informal advisor with planning decisions delegated to Ian Clement although this was originally denied by the Mayor.
Today’s announcement of his resignation from Westminster Council removes this hurdle and frees Milton to join Johnson’s team with the honourary title of ‘deputy mayor for policy and planning’. The appointment is one of ten permitted to the Mayor under the 1999 GLA act.
With the London Assembly last week voting to investigate Mayor Johnson’s previous appointments City Hall was tonight stressing that Milton’s appointment “will be subject to the appropriate procedures, with an interview panel chaired by Greater London Authority Chief Executive Anthony Mayer, which will include an independent element and a confirmation hearing, if required, by the London Assembly.”
Labour’s leader on the London Assembly Len Duvall said: “Boris Johnson knew Sir Simon’s appointment was in breach of the law and that if he hadn’t taken action to resolve this fiasco someone else was about to. Of course we welcome his belated decision to do the right thing and step down but the Mayor could have resolved this and spared everyone’s blushes weeks ago had he bothered to pay attention to the rules.”
Duvall said the Mayor “has been very slap-dash in handing out titles and positions to people. This is the latest blunder that proves he should have taken a little more time and paid more attention to the rules before rushing ahead with politically expedient appointments.”