City Hall Ridicule "Secret Meetings" Claims Boris Turned Down Times Column Offer

Sources close to Boris tell Guido that they find the Political Scrapbook story about secret meetings between Boris and Murdoch minions, as well as the Great Satan himself, popping up now a little bizarre. Given the details of the “secret meetings” were released into the public domain in summer 2011 following a Freedom of Information request which can still be seen on the Mayor’s website here you can understand why.

Scrapbook claim that it still doesn’t explain why no mention of it on the GLA gifts and hospitality register, that would be because the meeting with Murdoch was Boris dropping in late for a coffee at the end of a meal. Even a billionaire’s coffee should come in at less than the £25 threshold for declarations as per the rules:

“1(a)(viii) Any gifts or hospitality I have received from any person which has an estimated value of £25 or more.”

What about the secret lunch with Will Lewis and Rebekah Brooks? Close to Boris sources say that was nothing to do with him in his capacity as Mayor, that was them trying to lure him away from his Telegraph column to write a column for The Times. It was a private lunch on a Friday afternoon…

What puzzles Guido about Political Scrapbook running a year old story is: Why didn’t they run it in the heat of the election campaign when it might have had a dramatic impact? It is almost as if they didn’t want Ken to win…

The Boris Doughnut

Via: Guardian Datablog

Boris Spinner Guto Harri Lined-Up for News International

Boris spinner Guto Harri is poised to accept a position as Director of Communications at News International on a salary of £250,000-a-year. Guido understands that he promised Boris some weeks ago that he would not accept the position until after the election. Guto is telling the truth when he says he has not signed a contract, he is due to formally sign on with News International next week.

Guido sources at News International say that Sara Argent, currently Head of Operations at the GLA, will also go with him. She is a former CCHQ staffer who worked on the Boris 2008 election campaign.

Guto has also been a name regularly in the frame for a job at Downing Street. If Dave really wants him, he’ll have to move fast…

Labour Lost London the Day they Chose Ken Why Didn’t Labour Choose Oona?

Months before Labour selected a candidate for Mayor of London, Guido chatted with a senior City Hall Tory politico, asking him who he really preferred to fight; Oona or Ken? Without hesitating he said “Oona so long as Ken stands as an independent again. If not, Ken”. He got his wish…

That was a real fear for Labour. If Ken wasn’t their candidate, he would still be a candidate. The Labour machine could have selected Oona if it really wanted. It didn’t kick into action against his cynically parasitical organisation. Not because Ken outwitted them, it was because they feared a rogue Ken again, be in no doubt that if the Labour establishment and Labour HQ really wanted they could have stopped Ken being their chosen candidate. Implicit blackmail by Ken when Labour was reeling from losing the general election got him the candidacy.

Labour will spin and blame it on a ruthlessly negative Lynton Crosby campaign, and in many ways it was a classic, however it was only workable because Ken has so many negatives to mine. That type of campaign could not have been run against Oona. She is too fresh, too funky London and too centrist. Labour lost London they day they succumbed to Ken’s blackmail.

Boris Releases Income and Tax Records

By Guido’s sums Boris percentage of income paid in tax 2010/11 was 45.1%.

Can Ken say the same for his income channelled through Silveta Ltd? 

Exclusive: Boris: I Don’t Fiddle My Taxes Says Ken is Lying, Ed Miliband Mistaken

This morning at his press conference Guido asked Ed Miliband specifically about Ken’s tax avoiding arrangements. Ed Miliband claimed that Boris used a “similar scheme” to that used by Ken – a claim first made by Ken Livingstone himself on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this Sunday. Boris is really not happy to be accused of tax dodging.

This afternoon we asked Boris specifically about his tax arrangements. Here is his angry answer in full:

Dear Guido,

You have asked about my business affairs and tax arrangements. Specifically do I have any company or other arrangements constructed to enable me to pay less tax and do I, as has been claimed by the Labour Mayoral candidate and the Opposition Leader, have the same arrangements as Labour’s Mayoral candidate.

The answer is simple and unequivocal in both cases. No.

My salary as Mayor is taxed as an employee of the GLA. In the same way as when I was an MP my salary was taxed as an employee. Any other income that I have received from outside endeavours has been received on a self-employed basis, to me as an individual (no company or other structure has been involved). No income earned by me has ever been paid to a “service” company, through which a person or person’s freelance earnings can be channeled so that they pay corporation rather than income tax.

To suggest otherwise is a complete and utter fabrication.

Of course the real point is not about my tax arrangements. It is about the hypocrisy of a man who for years has railed against those who use special arrangements to reduce their tax and who has then been caught – bang to rights – doing the very same thing himself.

Boris Johnson

Looks like Ed Miliband owes Boris an apology…

Boris Bus Will Be On Time

The last of the despised killer bendy-buses is off the streets of London and Guido understands that the first new Routemaster will be on the streets next week. Boris actually promised in his manifesto to put the new bus on the road before the end of his first term. There was much scepticism that the cleaner-greener and, according to the experts, most advanced bus in the world, would see the light of day before Boris has to face the voters next year.

It’s an electric bus (it uses a small diesel engine to generate electricity, when it is needed) and is twice as economical as a conventional double decker at 11.6 miles to the gallon compared to the killer bendies 4.5 miles to the gallon. Boris buses following on from Boris bikes are visible signs of success. Cameron, who promised so much in his manifesto, might be a little discomforted by such an eye-catching public service advance.

Boris: King of the Shaggers

Boris might not want to go campaigning near Camden Lock for a few weeks. Controversal extra-marital affairs dating agency have found a new face for their service. Testing the all good publicity notion to the extreme…

Via The Drum.

Boris tells Iain Dale that…

“The British people haven’t had a say on Europe since 1975. There hasn’t been a vote. It seems to me to be that if a reasonable question could be framed and put to the people of this country, I think it is not a bad idea.”

Boris v Osborne – the Numbers

[vodpod id=Video.15504917&w=425&h=350&]

Closer than the mood would reflect…

The Boris Bandwagon

Given Cameron isn’t going anywhere any-time soon, Guido is a little surprise that one topic of conversation is already dominating the watering holes of conference – Boris for leader. Despite being confined to the graveyard slot on the morning that everyone is hungover, Boris is stealing the show. Dave’s fake smile said it all…

Osborne is the name that stands in BoJo’s way, but he hardly has the same level of support. The only person really singing Boy George’s praises is Michael Gove. He told the Telegraph: “Are there people in the Cabinet who have the capacity to lead? Yes, and George is pre-eminent among them”. Caveated. Without the prospect of a leadership election for three years, at very least, teams are being picked…

Boris on Cameron the Chump

The hand of the FT’s Christopher Cook can once again be felt in story that the Tories will find rather unhelpful. The disgruntled former Tory adviser has lifted the lid on life working next to Boris’s old parliamentary office. Paul Waugh has got hold of extracts of Cook speaking to Sonia Purnell for a her new “Just Boris” biography:

“Boris and I got on because we have similar dislike of most members of the Conservative party,’ explains Chris Cook – one of David Willetts’ aides, also based in the annexe room. ‘He’s clearly not on the right wing, but actually quite Europhile in Tory terms. He liked to come into our office to gossip and bitch about the right-wingers, particularly Liam Fox, or indeed anyone else he thought had screwed up the party that week.”

Then, coincidently, there are some rather more colourful descriptions of what Boris used to moot as ideas for his Telegraph column. In 2006 he suggested opening one with:

‘One thing that has become apparent to me in my years of Parliamentary service is that David Cameron is a complete c**t’.

Vero nihil verius!

Quote of the Day

Boris Johnson told the editor of The Lady

“Women cannot resist men who obviously like women.”

London's Working Class Prefer Boris to Ken

The latest YouGov polling [pdf] on the London mayoral voting intentions shows Boris leads Ken 44% to 41% amongst the “C2DE” working class voters, even though Labour has a 12% lead nationally amongst the same group of voters in a general election. Ken is clearly the Islington Guardianista candidate…

Downing Street should be worried – the failure to attract working class voters stopped Dave from winning last year. On these numbers Boris could have done it…

+ + + Bonking Boris Cleared over Complaint + + +

Mayor Boris has been cleared of any wrongdoing regarding the hiring of Helen “Mini-Cheddars” Macintyre, the mother of his love-child, after her then husband made a substantial donation. The complaint from Labour was chucked out.

Boris’s shagging is barely a story anymore…

Boris Faces Mistress Scandal Probe

The ongoing mystery surrounding Boris’s mistress, her then boyfriend’s £80,000 donation and her subsequent landing of a job as an Olympic fundraiser just got a little more serious for the wayward Mayor.

Boris is now facing an official investigation regarding Helen Macintyre, the mother of his love child and the latest “love of his life”, and why exactly she got her job. The Standard neatly summarises some awkward questions that need answering:

What are the claims Boris faces?

That he has breached several sections of the GLA code of conduct. This states he should never “improperly confer an advantage on any person”, “place yourself in situations where honesty and integrity may be questioned” or make any decision which affects the “financial position of… any person with whom you have a close association”. It also states that he must “make decisions on merit, including making appointments” and “indicate that you have a personal interest” when one arises.

Labour have triggered the investigation and smell blood after Boris’s election promise to end cronyism at City Hall, something that so damaged the last months of Ken’s regime, though it should be borne in mind that the post was unpaid. Still, not sure this one can be dismissed as an “inverted pyramid of piffle”…

UPDATE : Whilst we’re on the subject, Guido has been meaning to mention for some time that Helen Macintyre’s nickname at Edinburgh University – given to her by a boyfriend – was “mini-cheddars”.

Boris Wasn't Pushed Out, He Jumped

A usually reliable source emails to say contrary to speculation (see below) Boris hasn’t been thrown out by the long-suffering Marina. He has left her and is under the delusion that the latest love interest is “The One”. Here we go again…

Friday Caption Competition (PoJo Edition)

Boris and the Bankers Boogie at Boujis

It seems the age of austerity is yet to hit the gold lined pavements of SW7. Fancy paying £2,500 for dinner with the Mayor and maybe even a dance at favourite Royal haunt Boujis? There will be no banker bashing here…

And for a bounder about town what better way to make sure your girlfriends don’t all bump into each other and cause a dreadful fuss…

Just make them all wear masks!

Boris Rides On

Asked earlier this morning whether he had fathered Helen Macintyre’s baby, Boris was quick to give a full and frank explanation to the story:

“I think this is a fantastic cycle superhighway and I hope people will enjoy it. I’m not getting distracted by any adverse headlines.”

A pretty water-tight denial eh?[…] Read the rest


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Chuka Umunna on Seumas Milne re Russia:

“Have read the comments of the Leader of the Opposition’s spokesperson. Mr Milne’s comments do not represent the views of the majority of our voters, members or MPs. We’ll get abuse for saying so but where British lives have been put at risk it is important to be clear about this.”


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