City Hall has this morning announced that Tim Parker, the businessman brought in by Boris Johnson to reform the Greater London Authority and chair Transport for London, will be stepping down from his position as ‘First Deputy Mayor’.
Following Parker’s appointment in May opposition parties accused Mayor Boris Johnson of delegating his entire role to an unelected employee and criticised the Mayor for handing out honourific ‘Deputy Mayor’ titles. Despite the title Parker‘s position was merely one of ten staff posts open to the Mayor to appoint under the 1999 Greater London Authority Act.
Speaking at the time Labour’s leader on the London Assembly Len Duvall said: “Londoners need to know who is actually running their city. Is it Boris Johnson, who yesterday did not know that one of his deputies has been making major planning decisions on his behalf? Or is it his coterie of unelected appointees?.”
In a statement issued this morning Mr Parker said “I look forward to advising Boris on an ongoing basis on transport. I have concluded, however, that it would not be appropriate for an unelected official to chair a body which is responsible for most of the money and a large part of the brief of an elected Mayor. I also agree with the Mayor that my position as adviser does not justify my full time and exclusive commitment to the Greater London Authority, or the title of First Deputy Mayor. We have therefore decided to adjust the management structure and abolish that position.”
Announcing that he would continue to chair the board of Transport for London instead of handing over to Parker, Mayor Johnson said he “was delighted when Tim Parker agreed to take charge of the Board on my behalf. Over the last few weeks, however, it has become increasingly apparent to both of us that the nature of the decisions that need to be take are highly political and there is no substitute for me, as the directly elected Mayor, being in charge. There are limits, therefore, to what can be delegated.”
City Hall has confirmed that although Parker will still serve on the board of TfL he won’t be remain an employee of the GLA.
Commenting on Parker’s departure Mike Tuffrey AM, the leader of the Liberal Democrat group at the London Assembly, said: “To lose one advisor is unfortunate, to lose two is careless but to lose three in four months shows the wheels are coming off this new administration.”
Tuffrey added, ”Why is Boris losing yet another advisor? Has Tim Parker discovered that running London isn’t as easy as running private business?”
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