Meeting London’s Current and Future Policing Needs (Supplementary) [5]

Session date: 
December 9, 2014
Question By: 
Tom Copley
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Boris Johnson


I want to raise with you the issue of tenants who were threatened with eviction from MOPAC-owned homes, some of whom were in fact evicted.  I was pleased to see that the vast majority of those now will not be.  Your Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime [Stephen Greenhalgh], who I see has just joined us, having reversed his own decision to evict people.

I raised this with you back in March, the whole issue of tenants being evicted from Raynesfield in Wimbledon.  Why did you not step in then when you had the chance, rather than sitting back while some families have been forced to move and others have had the threat of eviction hanging over them?  What do you have to say to those families at Griffiths Road and Raynesfield?


Answer for Meeting London’s Current and Future Policing Needs (Supplementary) [5]

Answer for Meeting London’s Current and Future Policing Needs (Supplementary) [5]

Answered By: 
Boris Johnson

As you will know, you decided collectively as an Assembly that you did not wish to talk to Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, who could perfectly well have come and answered detailed questions on that, which do not figure of course in this case.


Tom Copley AM:  I am sorry, you are the Mayor, the buck stops with you, Mr Mayor.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  To the best of my knowledge I think what has happened is that obviously the MPS is not in the business of owning properties.  It is not a landowner, that is not our core competence, that is not what it does.  It was right to find a way of disposing of these homes, but as I understand it the evections have been stopped and that is all to the good.  It will obviously be up to a future --


Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, I have raised with you, and indeed other Assembly Members have raised this with you earlier in the year, you could have stepped in.  It seems that you still do not seem to know what the full situation is, despite the fact that really the buck stops with you.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Sorry, I do need to correct you, it sounds as though we have stepped in.


Tom Copley AM:  Do not start shouting, Mr Mayor.  This is --


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I was not shouting.


Tom Copley AM:  You were, you were raising your voice.  Stephen Greenhalgh has said --


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It must be a very loud microphone.


Tom Copley AM:  -- Stephen Greenhalgh has said:


“I was not happy with how they had been treated and I was not prepared to see key workers like nurses, carers and teachers, forced to move out of their homes.


Why were you not happy with the way they were treated when you looked into their case after I questioned you back in March?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Suffice it to say, that I approve wholeheartedly of whatever Stephen Greenhalgh has done to protect these tenants.  I would stress it does in no way --


Tom Copley AM:  You don’t appear to know what he has done. Will you apologise?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- alters the fact that we had to dispose of these properties and it will ultimately be up to a future landlord to work out how those tenancies should be proceeded with.


Tom Copley AM:  Will you apologise to these residents, particularly those that were evicted, for not taking action in the end, which you have not done?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, I will happily accept your congratulations, if that is what you wish to offer --


Tom Copley AM: There is not an offer.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- for the humane and wise decision of Stephen Greenhalgh.


Tom Copley AM:  I do not see why.  This is ridiculous.  U-turning your decision to evict people is a bit like someone coming up to you in the street threatening to mug you and then saying, “No I won’t” and expecting you to pat them on the back for it.  It is absolutely preposterous.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Right, I am sorry, but I completely fail to see the analogy.  It sounds to me as though Stephen Greenhalgh has stepped in to prevent the eviction of these tenants.


Tom Copley AM:  Which he was proposing, Mr Mayor.  He signed off the Estate Strategy!


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Of course it will be up to the future landlord, who may well be a registered social landlord, or whoever, to decide how to proceed.


Tom Copley AM:  Utterly preposterous.  He made the decision in the first place.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What he cannot do is to continue to be in the business of being landlord.  The job of the MPS is to police London and to bring down crime and that is what we are doing.


Tom Copley AM:  I do not know if you saw the press release that MOPAC sent out, announcing this U-turn, which frankly looked like it had come from the Conservative Party central office, plastered with local Conservative MPs and including your colleagues.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I think you are just cross because we seem to have shot your fox.


Tom Copley AM:  Hang on.  No mention of the work of Councillor Andrew Judge [Merton Council] in Wimbledon.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I think you feel --  This is a pathetic indignation of the Labour Party.  You cannot stand the idea that somebody else might be activated by feelings of clemency and decency.


Tom Copley AM:  Can we stop the clock, thank you, Chair.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  The people who write the verbatim minutes of this meeting can only write in one column.  They cannot write you both down next to each other, so can you have a go at speaking one at a time please?


Tom Copley AM:  Thank you.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  I think Mr Copley was in the middle of asking a question.


Tom Copley AM:  I was.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  You complete first and then the Mayor goes.  That is how question time works.  OK?


Tom Copley AM:  I thank you, Chair.  Yes, there was no mention of Councillor Andrew Judge in Wimbledon, no mention of the work of Andy Slaughter [MP for Hammersmith] or Councillor Hannah Barlow in Hammersmith and Fulham Council.  Are you content that MOPAC is sending out press releases that certainly sail very close to the wind when it comes to being party political?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I think we have now got to the bottom of the matter, through you, Chair.  This is the howl of pain from a Labour Assembly Member who discovers he has been completely out-generaled by the masterful Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, who has not only done the right thing and the merciful thing but it also turns out has done something that has effectively shot Labour’s fox that they were so avidly chasing.   It was obviously a grievous oversight (I am being sarcastic, for the benefit of the recorders).  In an ideal world in all MOPAC press releases it would pay tribute to all --


Jenny Jones AM:  You are talking gobbledygook.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  He has specifically asked for MOPAC press releases to pay tribute to the work of Andy Slaughter and some chap whose name I cannot remember.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  We have stopped the clock, as we seem to have exhausted this particular subject.