Mayor's aides in crisis

London Mayor Boris Johnson's City Hall troubles deepened this week with the revelation that his Chief of Staff has joined two other key aides who are no longer in their posts.

Nick Boles is the latest apparatchik to go. Last month the Mayor's senior political strategist, James McGrath, was fired for a race gaffe.This was followed by the resignation of Deputy Mayor for Young People Ray Lewis amid allegations of financial impropriety.

The-Latest spoke to Ben McKnight, one of the Mayor's press officers, who said:  "Tim Parker, who is currently the First Deputy Mayor and Chief Executive of the GLA (Greater London Authority), has replaced Nick Boles. It was always planned that way. Nothing has jumped out of the box with this one."

McKnight also confirmed that Boles has not been appointed to another position at City Hall.

A senior Fleet Street political correspondent told us: "Nick Boles was almost hysterical when I phoned him today about a story to do with Boris Johnson. He said he no longer worked for the Mayor and I would have to talk to someone else."

Meanwhile, Conservative Party critics have been lining up to blame McGrath and Johnson's chief spin doctor Guto Harri for the Mayor's woes. One of them, the blogger Amusedobserver on Conservative Home website, wrote:

"Can I ask all those who think Boris was wrong to sack this guy McGrath if they really want their much-heralded Mayor of London (a new dawn for conservatism etc etc)to keep in post a man who - even though he knew he was speaking to a journalist, long-standing Labour party member, and seasoned campaigner on anti-racism and diversity issues - lacked the political nous to not answer the question (reasonably put, in my opinion, and reported as part of quite a wide-ranging interview) by saying something like: It's shocking that someone would suggest such a thing, after all we live in a wonderfully diverse city that has benefited so much from this generation of West Indian immigrants, and here is a list of the kinds of benefits I'm talking about...

Surely our Mayor needs someone who not only knows and understands this is the case, but is also sharp enough to express it when being interviewed. Also, from Wadsworth's follow-up, it seems that McGrath's been given a more than adequate opportunity to explain his position but has refused to do so. This isn't political bravery, it's ineptitude. And that's why Johnson was right to sack him."

* The London Assembly has announced it will investigate the Mayor's appointment of staff and consultants following the resignation of two senior aides. It will examine recruitment procedures and advice given to Mayor Boris Johnson about his powers of appointment.

A Labour opposition leader John Biggs said there were "important issues about the appointment of publicly-funded staff that need to be addressed".




3 Responses to "Mayor's aides in crisis"


Wed, 07/09/2008 - 19:52
<p><font style="background-color: #e2e2e2">In other news,;s Newsdesk are now forced to use anonymous blogger entries in order to back up their articles. </font></p><p><font style="background-color: #e2e2e2">If you&#39;re going to give fair balance, then perhaps you should include some of the quotes from other bloggers from the same Conservative Home article. </font></p><p> &quot;McGrath gave a pretty innocuous responded to a daft and impertinent question. Any &#39;anxieties&#39; among ordinary elderly West Indians (were there any?) were created by Wadsworth&#39;s deliberate misrepresentation of McGrath&#39;s words and the leftie race-mongers who joined in the chorus.&quot;</p><p>It also has the nice line from dear old Ken Livingstone, presumably someone Marc Wadsworth didn&#39;t want to grill and attack:</p><p>&quot;hitting out at two of its key backers, David and Simon Reuben. Mr Livingstone apparently suggested at his weekly press briefing that if the brothers were not happy they should go back to their country and see whether they could do better under the ayatollahs.&quot;</p><p>Does Marc Wadsworth consider McGrath&#39;s words to him to be more offensive than several of Livingstone&#39;s remarks that have featured a Jewish element? </p>


Wed, 07/09/2008 - 22:16
What a shambles. These aides of bumbling Bojo couldn&#39;t organise a piss up in a brewery. No wonder it was left to Boris himself to discover &#39;Red&#39; Ken&#39;s secret stash of vintage wines in the Mayor&#39;s office. Shepperton Studios should host a new farce: Carry on Boris.
chris's picture


Wed, 07/09/2008 - 22:20
<p><strong><u>Chris Gaynor</u></strong></p> Surely Boris Johnson would be familiar with recruitment procedures? If not, does that show incompitence?