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Monday, June 22, 2009

Quick points

Not had much time to blog until now and I am a bit overwhelmed at how quickly the news agenda is moving. So here are a couple of quick points whilst I wait for the outcome of the second ballot for Speaker of the House of Commons:

1. Pressure to hold the Iraq War Inquiry in public appears to be having an impact. According to the Guardian Ed Balls has said that it would be a "good thing" to hold some of the Iraq war inquiry in public, whilst the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw has also indicated that he would be prepared to give most of his evidence to the inquiry in public. The paper says ministerial sources have suggested that Gordon Brown is preparing to accept parts of a Conservative motion to be debated on Wednesday that the inquiry "should be wherever possible be held in public".

This is a good thing, although I would suggest that Brown's position became completely indefensible when it transpired that it was Tony Blair who had urged him to hold the independent inquiry in secret because he feared that he would be subjected to a "show trial" if it were opened to the public.

2. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has now lost a third Deputy Mayor. Ian Clement, has been forced to quit over the misuse of a corporate credit card just days after his boss publicly stood by him. That brings the total of embarrassing departures from the Mayor's Office to five:

In July last year, Ray Lewis resigned as deputy mayor for young people the day after Johnson was forced to launch an independent inquiry into allegations of financial irregularities and inappropriate behaviour against him following a spate of media reports.

A month later, another of Johnson's deputy mayors, Tim Parker, who also served as chair of Transport for London, stepped down after it was decided that he held posts with too much responsibility for an unelected official.

Other mayoral departures include the mayor's chief political adviser James McGrath, whom Johnson was forced to sack after he suggested that older African-Caribbean people ought to move to the Caribbean if they were unhappy living in a Tory-controlled London, and David Ross, who quit as Johnson's Olympics adviser last December, 24 hours after the tycoon was forced to step down from Carphone Warehouse for failing to declare that he had used shares worth around £162m as security against personal loans.

Accident-prone doesn't cover it, and yet Boris remains as popular as ever. Londoners elected a likeable buffoon with no administrative experience so I suppose they cannot complain when that is what they get.
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