Mayor's Oral Update

MQT on 2012-12-19
Session date: 
December 19, 2012
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Jennette Arnold (Chair): Can I ask you to provide an oral update of up to five minutes in length on matters that you wish to report that have occurred since the publication of your report.


Answer for Mayor's Oral Update

Answer for Mayor's Oral Update

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes. Thank you very much, Jennette. The Labour Group has asked for oral updates on Gerard Lyons [Economic Advisor to the Mayor], on a Crossrail accident and on an alleged incident involving the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime.

Just quickly on those three first, we have an economy in London that is considerably bigger than Belgium, Austria or Portugal. It is a vast part of the United Kingdom (UK) economy. We in this body are statutorily charged with strategically framing economic policy for the motor of the UK economy. It is only right that we should have an economist advising us of the calibre of Gerard Lyons and I warmly welcome him to City Hall.

A worker suffered severe burns on Wednesday, 12 December in the course of the Crossrail operation, I think, in the Holborn area. He is currently being treated in hospital. Obviously, our sympathies are with him and his family. What I would say is that Crossrail is the largest construction operation and largest engineering project underway in Europe. It is a massive undertaking. Eight million hours have been worked already so far. The casualty rate, the safety-at-work record of Crossrail, is exactly equivalent at the moment to the very successful Olympic Delivery Authority at the comparable stage in the programme. Of course, we cannot be complacent and our thoughts are with the worker concerned; but I have confidence in Crossrail's methods and in their care for health and safety.

I have received reports by the Greater London Authority (GLA) Monitoring Officer into an allegation made by a member of staff who did not want publicity, did not want her name in the papers or anything like that, and did not want any complaint to be made at all. It was only because of the very widespread media coverage of the alleged incident that it was necessary to ask the Monitoring Officer to investigate because obviously her feelings, I think Members will agree, have to be paramount in this. We now have the report by the Monitoring Officer. I am very grateful to him for his work. He has not interviewed the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, but the takeout I get from him is that no hard and fast conclusions about what, if anything, took place can be drawn. However, it is certainly right - and I know Members would expect this - for us to remind everybody in this place that there can be no inappropriate conduct of any kind in the GLA. That is the very firm advice I have given to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime and indeed to everybody else who works for me and in this building.

I just want to round up by saying that this is our last session before Christmas. I think it has been an incredible year for our city, and the GLA in one way or another played a part, large or small, in a lot of it. We helped to frame and to deliver the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Obviously, the city played a big role in delivering the most successful and most wonderful Olympic and Paralympic Games that have ever been held.

All I would say to people as they look back on 2012 is do not just remember the good bits. Do not just remember all the rosy glow of the triumphs of the athletes and that feeling of euphoria that gripped us all during the summer. Remember the gloom and the pessimism that came first because there will be all sorts of gloom and there will be all sorts of pessimism in the months to come. My yuletide message, folks, is that once again London will overcome the doubters and the pessimists. We will get on and deliver the great things that Londoners expect of us in the years ahead. We will get on with building the homes and the transport infrastructure and making their streets safer in the way that they deserve.

I just have a bit of final good news. We have been granted, Jennette, the right and privilege of hosting the 2017 International Paralympic Games [IPC Athletics World Championship] in London, so people will be pleased by that as well. Thank you very much.

Jennette Arnold (Chair): That is excellent. We welcome all of that good news and it is clearly a matter of celebration that we have won that accolade of holding those Games in 2017.

Mr Mayor, can I just say to you that I have had hard copies of the letter that was written by the Monitoring Officer to the Chair of the Police and Crime Committee (PCC) because, in a way, all Members are members of the PCC by virtue of either sitting on it or subbing for it. I do not know if you have had a copy of this letter.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I did see it last night.

Jennette Arnold (Chair): Before I just open the floor, can I just ask you to go back to this letter? On the third paragraph from the end, it is saying there that the matter rests for you and it is for the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to consider and ultimately a matter for the Mayor who appointed the appointee to the office of Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime. Are you in a position today to make any comment? Have you had any deliberations or thought about your actions because that is what this letter refers to?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes. I think that Members of the Assembly will take it that I have considered that. What I said this morning, given shall I say the lack of clarity about what has happened or what is alleged to have happened, I think that my general remarks both to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime and indeed to everybody else involved in working in this place should stand as my actions as Chair of MOPAC.

Jennette Arnold (Chair): For clarity, there will be no further action taken by either yourself or MOPAC on this matter? Is that what you are saying?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No, I do not propose to take any further action.

Jennette Arnold (Chair): OK. Have I got any Members who want to come in on anything about the appointment of Gerard Lyons?