London taxpayers could be about to pick up the tab for a host of political campaigning videos after City Hall’s internal watchdog authorised the use of official resources for a video backing a second Brexit vote.
Earlier this week Mayor Sadiq Khan posted the video, in which he criticises the Government’s negotiating stance and sets out why he’s backing the ‘People’s Vote’ campaign, on his personal Twitter account. The video was also posted on the campaign’s Facebook page.
This Saturday, I’m joining people from every corner of our country to demand the British people get the final say on Brexit.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) 16 October 2018
While lacking any official City Hall or Mayor of London branding, the video was filmed within City Hall and shares its framing and styling with official Greater London Authority videos posted on the Mayor’s official social media channels.
Confirming that the video had been filmed “in-house” especially “for the People’s Vote campaign,” Mr Khan’s office says it was done so with the full prior approval of City Hall’s monitoring officer, the official tasked with ensuring elected politicians and their staff follow local government rules.
Mr Khan’s spokesperson told this site: “The Mayor makes absolutely no apologies for doing everything possible to protect jobs and growth in London throughout the Brexit negotiations.
“This video message for the People’s Vote campaign was recorded in-house following legal advice and consultation with the Greater London Authority’s monitoring officer.”
As previously noted, the axing of all public meetings during the build up to even non-City Hall elections in London already frees-up Mayors and London Assembly members to campaign for their parties while still being paid by the taxpayer.
And now, thanks to this week’s decision, we could well see a volley of taxpayer-funded videos pushing support for other political campaigns – it’ll hardly be surprising if, in the days ahead, pro-Brexit parties on the Assembly feel entitled to access the same resources to make videos for, say, Leave Means Leave.
The Mayor’s team will of course be pleased that the monitoring officer allowed him to use the full perks of his office to push a cause popular with his own section of the Labour party but in the longer term it’s possible they’ll come to regret giving his rival for the 2020 election free use of City Hall’s resources to comment on his policies and progress.