Oral Update on the Report of the Mayor

MQT on 2016-03-16
Session date: 
March 16, 2016
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  The Mayor will now provide an oral update of up to five minutes in length on matters occurring since the publication of his report, including a matter that an Assembly Member has requested him to address.


Answer for Oral Update on the Report of the Mayor

Answer for Oral Update on the Report of the Mayor

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Thank you so much, Jennette.  Since we last met, we have launched 11 new Housing Zones in 10 boroughs.  That means another 77,000 homes from all 31 Housing Zones.  We are on target, as you know, to deliver 100,000 affordable homes.


We have fulfilled a manifesto pledge to deliver the 50th Business Improvement District.  We have succeeded in getting yet another piece of physical legacy from the Olympic Games in the sense that Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School has taken the entire BMW Pavilion and erected it in the school grounds as a fantastic new sixth form centre.


We have invested another £345,000 into tackling gang crime and domestic violence, working particularly with accident and emergency departments (A&Es), which treat the victims of these appalling crimes and help to bring the perpetrators to justice by providing immediate evidence to the police.


We are also investing another £1.5 million in grassroots sports, I see, and artificial pitches.  I do not know whether you can have grass roots in artificial pitches but, anyway, that is what we are doing.  You will remember that Kate Hoey [Mayor’s Commissioner for Sport] and the City Hall sports team have helped 400,000 Londoners since the Olympics to take part in some kind of physical activity or other; some kind of exercise, that is to say.


This is, indeed, my last Mayor’s Question Time (MQT), Jennette ‑‑


Tom Copley AM:  Hooray.


Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am already getting some jubilant heckling from the gentlemen on my right, as ever.  They have begun sledging.  Hardly had I sat down.


I want to pay a very few thank yous and I will be forgiven if I pay tribute, first of all, to everybody in the Greater London Authority (GLA) and all of the officials who work in this place and, in my view, who have done an absolutely outstanding job for London over the last eight years.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Hear, hear.


Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Say what you like about the last eight years; you could not fault GLA officers for their dedication, their passion for this city and their determination to improve the lives of all Londoners.  They can be very proud of what has been achieved.


I particularly want to thank the great Michael Coleman [Assembly Liaison Officer].  It would be appropriate to thank Michael Coleman - who is, I hope, watching this - for his work in preparing, over these 80 MQTs, my excellent briefs.  I want to thank all of my team on the eighth floor for all of their work.


Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am not going to burst into tears at this point; thank you, John [Mayor John Biggs AM].


This may surprise you: I also want to pay tribute to the London Assembly Members, some of whom are also standing down.  Distinguished Members of the London Assembly are also standing down at the end of this eight-year period.  I want to thank them very much and I want to thank all of you very much for your scrutiny, sometimes severe, sometimes friendly, sometimes - in my view - more or less deranged, but overall there is absolutely no doubt that you have contributed to the improvement of decision-making in this place by your scrutiny and done a great deal to help the good government of London.  Thank you, all, very much.


I am, therefore, very happy to take any questions you may wish to raise.


Mayor John Biggs AM:  You might even answer them!


Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I always answer your questions.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Can I remind you that you were asked to provide an oral update?


Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am so sorry.  Yes, I should have said earlier on.  In the matter of the famous Eddie Lister [Sir Edward Lister, Chief of Staff] memo [setting out advice on the use of GLA resources during the run-up to the referendum on European Union membership], let me explain exactly what was happening.  Somebody - I think Andrew Dismore AM - has asked for an oral update on this.


The position is pretty clear.  What Eddie was trying to do was to give effect to the rules that apply to all GLA officials ‑‑


Andrew Dismore AM:  Really?


Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ and logically, of course, this should apply to the ‘ten plus two’ [appointments made by the Mayor under Section 67 of the GLA Act 1999 (as amended)] as well.  However, given that they have a sort of quasi-cabinet type of role, it seemed to me to be reasonable that a hundred flowers should bloom and everybody should be able to say what they wanted.  That is the position and, indeed, you will see that there is a variety of views on the eighth floor about this matter and people are intermittently popping up and saying what they think.  That is great, if not groovy.  I repeat my position: let a hundred flowers bloom ... or a thousand.