Friday, July 04, 2008

London Politics Health Warning For Boris

Mayor Johnson had better learn the game fast. Anyone entering London politics should be given a health warning - enter at you peril, it's a dirty business. This is not the cosy Westminster bubble, this is the street politics of a huge and diverse city. 

It's rough out there on the mean streets of London - it always has been. 

Livingstone was a political street fighter. Anyone who can survive Thatcher and Blair has to be. Johnson, on the other hand, is a member of the Westminster circle.

Serious allegations of financial and sexual misconduct surrounding Mayor Johnson's deputy Ray Lewis and his credentials have surfaced, but this is not the big issue. That will eventually all come out in the wash.

So far Johnson has behaved correctly. He called a hastily arranged news conference at city hall yesterday and stood next to Lewis, promising an investigation into the allegations. 

But what prompted the hastily called news conference? Obviously he got wind of a story about to break. Was this another story planted on the BBC? This time it was prompted by a list of questions sent by the Guardian newspaper the day before. 

The questions raised by the Guardian were serious and must be investigated and answered. And they were followed by questions raised by Channel 4 News. 

Apart from the allegations, they call into question Johnson's and for that matter Cameron's judgement in appointing Lewis as deputy. And that takes London politics to the heart of Westminster. 

UPDATE: Lewis announced his resignation at around 7pm this evening. Mayor Johnson is going to have to learn fast if he is to survive.

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