Sadiq’s Official Mayoral BMW Has No MOT

It appears that in amongst all the splashing taxpayers’ cash on PR firms and campaign groups while approving prohibited political ads on the tube, Sadiq has forgotten one important thing this week. His official swanky black BMW hasn’t had its MOT renewed – DVLA records show that it’s now almost a week out of date. Not a good look for the boss of the capital’s transport infrastructure. With a massive 4.4-litre engine it’s hardly very environmentally-friendly either…

“Disgraceful” Sadiq Allows More Banned People’s Vote Ads on Tube

Guido reported back in October how adverts for the People’s Vote’s “Losers’ March” had been allowed on the tube in direct contravention of TfL rules on advertising – as rule 2.3(n) clearly states, an “advertisement will be unacceptable if it promotes a party political cause or electioneering.” Not that the adverts did much good, given that only one third of the 700,000 figure the People’s Vote claimed actually turned up…

Incredibly, yet more People’s Vote adverts have now appeared on the tube at Westminster Station of all places, with Alastair Campbell even boasting about them on Instagram this morning. GLA Conservative leader Gareth Bacon slammed Sadiq for permitting the prohibited ads: “This is disgraceful behaviour from Sadiq Khan; he’s allowing public resources to be used for Remain propaganda.” After his questionable donation revealed by Guido yesterday, this looks like yet another instance of Sadiq abusing his position in a shamelessly partisan way…

Sadiq Gave £21,000 of Taxpayers’ Cash to Group Campaigning for Second Referendum

Sadiq Khan has already demonstrated his prowess at finding taxpayers’ money to blow on self-congratulatory PR campaigns despite the appalling state of TfL and Crossrail’s finances. Now Guido can reveal that Sadiq has also given over £20,000 of taxpayers’ cash to a lobby group which has been campaigning for a second referendum. The Mayor’s accounts show that Sadiq gave two payments of £10,717.82 for “community development” in December last year to campaign group The3Million, which lobbies for EU citizens in the UK. The3million are not some non-partisan community organisation, they are a highly political pressure group…

The group’s spokesman Axel Antoni told the Guardian in October: “It’s a very specific demand: we want a final say for all. The UK is our home. We are part of it. EU citizens didn’t even have a vote last time, we didn’t have a voice last time.” The UK will still be their home after Brexit, the UK has unilaterally guaranteed all EU citizens’ rights to stay, unlike the EU. Their demand for a second referendum goes far beyond that into the world of partisan politics. Sadiq having his own views on a second referendum is one thing, spending taxpayers’ money promoting them is quite another…

It comes as The Photographers’ Gallery in London was referred to the Charities Commission over hosting an overtly anti-Brexit exhibition, despite being a registered charity and receiving the vast majority of its funding from Arts Council England, whose London Chair is an avid Remainer. Who was she appointed by? Sadiq Khan…

Skint Sadiq Splashing £300,000 of Taxpayers’ Cash on PR Firm

It turns out that the £30,000 Sadiq Khan blew on Freud Communications to find celebrities to tweet about his pet social media campaign was only the tip of the iceberg of his egoistic largesse. Guido can reveal that the Mayor has in fact shelled out almost £300,000 to the swanky PR firm in the two and a half years since he became Mayor in 2016. How can he justify spending this much on self-congratulatory campaigns when Crossrail is heading towards being £2 billion in the red and TfL is facing a £1 billion operating deficit?

The Mayor’s Office was forced to release figures detailing exactly how much has been spent on Freuds – £126,000 in 2016/17, £120,000 in 2017/18, and £48,000 so far this financial year, totalling £294,000. This is just part of the £2.8 million increase in PR and marketing spend since Sadiq became Mayor, and on top of the fifteen press officers he already employs. All paid for by the taxpayer…

Labour Voters Unenthusiastic About Leadership Contenders

Labour’s leadership hopefuls have some work to do if they want to establish themselves as successors to Corbyn among the Labour faithful. Polling by the ESRC Party Members Project somewhat surprisingly found Keir Starmer to be the slight favourite among Labour members with 18% support, ahead of John McDonnell on 15% and Emily Thornberry on 12%.

Starmer is hardly the obvious Corbynista choice but with Brexit in the spotlight Starmer’s Remain tendencies are more in tune with the Labour membership than the euroscepticism of the old left. Still a far cry from Boris’s regular double-digit leads among Tory members…

Among Labour voters as a whole, not a single contender breaks into double digits, with “don’t know” polling at a hefty 56%. Starmer is again the best of the bunch on 9% with McDonnell trailing on 5%. Thornberry and Chuka are tied on 3%. Self-promoting Sadiq doesn’t even get a look in – only 1% of Labour members back him and less than 1% of Labour voters at large…

Cash-Strapped Sadiq Splurging £30,000 on Social Media PR

After turning London’s £3 million firework display into an attention-seeking exercise for himself, Sadiq is now blowing yet more taxpayers’ cash on a swanky PR firm to promote his #LondonIsOpen campaign on Twitter. Despite TfL facing a £1 billion operating deficit and Crossrail now requiring emergency loans of up to £2 billion – which Londoners will have to pay back – Sadiq has somehow managed to find £30,000 down the back of the sofa to splurge on PR outfit Freud CommunicationsTheir job is to find high-profile people to tweet about it…

Guido readers may remember Freud Communications as part of the nexus of Remain campaign groups which sprung up in the final month of the referendum and had over £1 million funnelled to them by a tiny handful of mega-rich donors.

Publicity-obsessed Sadiq has overseen a £2.8 million increase in PR and marketing spend since becoming Mayor and already employs fifteen press officers at City Hall. Was there not a single one who was capable of doing this job themselves?

Sadiq Bans Non-EU Music From New Year’s Display

It turns out that Sadiq Khan’s grandstanding New Year’s display wasn’t quite as open as he likes to claim. Despite his relentless self-promoting social media campaign to flog his #LondonIsOpen slogan, Sadiq decreed that only music from EU artists was welcome for his big vanity project. Has Sadiq forgotten that over two thirds of Londoners who were born abroad aren’t from the EU..?

‘Scrooge’ Sadiq Banning Tube Ads for Christmas Treats

Junk food isn’t the only thing which is set to fall foul of Sadiq Khan’s latest advertising ban on TfL – festive treats including mince pies and Christmas puddings would also be caught out under the ban. Former Tory mayoral hopeful Andrew Boff also claimed that Macmillan Cancer Support could be prevented from advertising their famous coffee morning fundraisers on the tube under the ban because of the presence of cakes in their adverts.

Boff accused Sadiq of being a “Scrooge” and called for the “entirely flawed” ban to be scrapped altogether. Politicians from all parties could do with reeling in their knee-jerk instincts to ban anything and everything…

Sadiq Speaks at Event Hosted by Anti-Gay Church Embroiled in Paedophile Controversy

Guido can reveal that London Mayor Sadiq Khan spoke on Sunday at a Christmas event hosted by a highly controversial church which discriminates against gay people and is embroiled in a paedophilia cover-up. The deeply evangelical Hillsong Church, founded in Australia, has a policy of actively excluding gay people from roles within the church, with founder Brian Houston explaining:

“Hillsong Church welcomes ALL people but does not affirm all lifestyles. Put clearly, we do not affirm a gay lifestyle and because of this we do not knowingly have actively gay people in positions of leadership, either paid or unpaid.”

It gets worse. Brian Houston is also facing an investigation in Australia over his alleged role in covering-up child sexual abuse by his father, Frank Houston, also an evangelical preacher who was accused of molesting nine children. A Royal Commission found that Brian Houston had failed to inform the police and had a clear conflict by assuming responsibility for the Church’s internal investigation himself. Houston sacked his father from Hillsong over the abuse in 1999 but did not report it to the authorities and even wrote to churches telling them not to make the allegations public.

Khan told a reporter at the event that politicians should learn “lessons in kindness” from the Church. That kindness clearly doesn’t extend to gay people or victims of child sexual abuse in this case…

Londoners on the Hook for Sadiq’s £2 Billion Crossrail Calamity

Sadiq Khan’s calamitous handling of the Crossrail launch is going from bad to worse as it emerges that Crossrail could require over £2 billion in bailout funds. Under a financial package confirmed today between Khan and the Treasury, Transport for London is set for another an emergency cash injection with the GLA borrowing up to £1.3 billion from the Department for Transport as well as providing £100 million of its own funds. There is a contingency option for a further bailout of up to £750 million, also loaned from DfT. This is on top of the £300 million initial bailout which was already granted to TfL in July…

Sadiq’s financial mismanagement has left Londoners on the hook – under the terms of the £1.3 billion loan it will have to be repaid directly by London’s businesses through Sadiq’s Business Rate Supplement (BRS) and Mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy (MCIL) taxes. TfL’s finances are in a dire state thanks to his partial fares freeze, as well as the delays to Crossrail and lost advertising revenues under his ban-happy advertising policy. TfL is now facing a huge £1 billion operating deficit which is why it is having to go cap-in-hand to the Government for bailouts…

Sadiq is still facing an FCA investigation into his failure to inform the London Stock Exchange that Crossrail’s launch would be delayed until Autumn 2019, with outgoing Crossrail chairman Sir Terry Morgan accusing Sadiq of knowing about the delay as early as late July. City Hall insiders reckon that the launch may yet be pushed back as far as Autumn 2020, after the next London Mayoral Election. How much more of London taxpayers’ cash will Sadiq have squandered by then?

UPDATE: A frustrated government source comments: “We’ve had to dig deep to save the Crossrail project thanks to the mismanagement of money under a Labour mayor (and a moderate one by Corbyn’s standards…)”

How Sadiq Threw Away Half A Billion Pounds

Sadiq Khan has been making hay of his getting rid of Boris’ £300,000 water cannon (which became redundant after being banned by Theresa May), but that loss looks like small change compared to Sadiq’s own vanity project where “at least £469 million will have been wasted” according to the National Audit Office.

Back when he was Fire Minister, Khan launched a new Government programme called ‘FiReControl’ which aimed to replace county level control centres with larger regional ones, all connected to a central database. The damning National Audit Office report into the failure of the project said the rational behind regionalisation was “unclear and badly communicated.”

“It was approved on the basis of unrealistic estimates of costs and under-appreciation of the complexity of the IT involved and the project was hurriedly implemented and poorly managed.”

Earlier this week Sadiq had the cheek to say “For too long, London taxpayers have had to bear the brunt of Boris Johnson’s appalling botched water cannon deal.” If Sadiq thinks a £300,000 loss is ‘appalling,’ Guido can’t wait to hear how he would describe the Mayor’s own waste of half a billion pounds…

Censoring Sadiq Strikes Again

Sadiq Khan, not content with banning ‘beach body ready’ adverts, is this evening set to announce a ban on “junk food” advertisements across London tubes, busses, and overground rail.

TfL is already crippled with a £1 billion debt mountain, and this ad ban would increase that by over 10%, due to £125 million in lost revenue. Added to this, there isn’t even any proof that this censorious vanity policy works. Amsterdam introduced a similar ban a year ago but there has been no evidence of this leading to a decline in childhood obesity. Expensive, ineffective, and virtue signalling – this move will only please the crackpot lobby groups intent on making the world a less tasty, fun, or free.

With or Without Water Cannon, Boris Brought Down Crime, Unlike Sadiq

Much has been made of Sadiq’s sale of Boris’ water cannon today. It’s easy to forget that the three cannon were purchased at a time when there were great fears of civil unrest in the wake of the London riots. Guido understands that Cameron had privately agreed he’d licence them if there was another riot. However, Theresa May blocked it politically, asking for copious safety assurances, which were met by the Mayor’s Office and the Met but then ignored by the Home Secretary.

A source close to Boris told Guido “Boris made tackling crime his top priority when he came into office… he reduced the murder rate by 50% and brought overall crime down by 20%. This is a legacy the new mayor has sadly been unable to match.”

It looks to Guido as if Boris’ overall approach worked…

Boris is Still UK’s Most Popular Politician

Boris Johnson tops out YouGov’s list of politicians by popularity, with a positive rating of 32%, when you look at the net approval ratings Boris is 3 points ahead of Theresa. The other Tory frontrunners to replace May, David Davis and Sajid Javid come in at 18th and 33rd respectively. Despite the unforgiving treatment in the remainstream media Boris still has better net approval ratings than both May and Corbyn…

More people have heard of Jacob Rees-Mogg (72%) than Ruth Davidson (62%), however the people who have the highest recognition ratings are Boris, May and Corbyn coming in at 97%, 100%, and 98% respectively. This helps explain Sajid’s dismally low numbers…

Finally, the public don’t appear to be too enthusiastic about a David Cameron comeback. Despite his name recognition, Dave comes in at 23rd, with just 18% approval and a worse negative rating than Nigel Farage…

Sadiq Denies All Knowledge of Key Advisers’ Trump Blimp Plot

After Guido revealed that Sadiq’s top team had conspired to overrule the GLA’s original decision not to allow the Trump baby blimp to fly, Sadiq was subjected to a grilling by GLA Conservative Leader Gareth Bacon over what he really knew about the plot.

Despite emails released through an FoI showing that several of his close advisers were key movers in the plot to “lean on” officials to make them reverse their decision, Sadiq continued to insist that he had played no part in the decision, nor had any knowledge of it whatsoever. Guido somehow doubts that his denial will be enough to convince Piers Morgan

It would raise serious questions about Sadiq’s authority if his inner circle at City Hall, including his Director of Communications, Patrick Hennessy, and a number of his direct political appointees, had genuinely taken action on such a high-profile issue without even making their boss aware of it. Is that really credible? As Bacon quips: “Are you involved in any decision making at City Hall, Mr Mayor?”

Sadiq’s Suspect People’s Vote TfL Ads

The so-called “People’s Vote” have launched an advertising campaign on the London Underground ahead of their Losers’ March tomorrow. However this is a direct contradiction of the TfL guidelines for advertising on the tube. Rule 2.3(n) clearly states that an “advertisement will be unacceptable if it promotes a party political cause or electioneering.”

With Sadiq Khan due to address the march of the Remoaners tomorrow, could it be the case that the Mayor is abusing his position to bypass the rules and decisions of London’s governing bodies? It wouldn’t be the first time. A few weeks ago, Guido reported how Sadiq’s team had overruled GLA authorities who had banned the Trump baby blimp from appearing. Guido hopes Sadiq isn’t bending the rules because he’s worried about how many people will turn up to watch him speak…

Sadiq’s Top Advisers Over-Ruled GLA Officials to Make Trump Blimp Fly

Guido readers may remember the underwhelmingly-sized Trump baby blimp which soared floated a few metres above Parliament Square during Trump’s visit in July. Despite his long-running feud with Trump, Sadiq Khan was insistent at the time that the decision was solely that of the Greater London Authority (GLA) as a “corporate body” and that he had not personally approved the blimp. In fact, emails obtained by Guido reveal that the GLA initially rejected the proposal outright, only reversing their decision after a concerted campaign from Sadiq’s closest advisers including his Director of Communications Patrick Hennessey.

Here is the timeline of events:

  • 27 April: GLA Facilities Mangement emails the organisers of the protest to tell them that “we cannot consider the inflatable request below and the decision is final”:

  • 15 June: Following the publication of an article in the Guardian by the organiser imploring Sadiq to “Let Trump baby fly”, several of Sadiq Khan’s top team including senior advisers Leah Kreitzman, Nick Bowes and Patrick Hennessey exchange a number of emails where they prepare lines on how to reopen the decision process around approving the blimp.
  • 27 June: Leah Kreitzman sends an email stating “I think we might need to lean into it a bit more now. Can you please draft something along the lines of us looking at how we can make it happen.” Sadiq’s team agree a line to send over to the Evening Standard.
  • 28 June: The City Operations Lead in Sadiq’s office sends an email stating that they are now “minded to grant permission”.
  • 4 July: An authorisation notice is sent to the blimp organiser informing him that permission has now been granted.
  • 6 July: Sadiq’s team prepare an extended Q&A and lines for him to take, including the lines “I was not involved in the decision at all. It was made by the city operations team at the GLA.” and “I did not have a role in this decision. It was a decision for the city operations team at the GLA.”
  • 10 July: Sadiq appears on Good Morning Britain and gives the line that he was not involved and it was a GLA decision.

The numerous emails between Sadiq’s top team show that this was not a simple bureaucratic decision by the GLA but in fact a last-minute reversal of the original decision following a concerted campaign to change it. It is implausible that senior members of his team including his Director of Communications did not discuss this with the Mayor at any point during the process. Either way, Sadiq’s portrayal of the decision as a purely procedural rather than political was unquestionably misleading the public…

Khan Flip-Flops on Neverendum

“I’m not one of those advocating for a re-run… the British public should have a say on the outcome of the negotiations… plus the option of staying in the EU.”

Sadiq might want to look up the definition of re-run…

Khan to Osborne: Bring It On

“George Osborne doesn’t concern me in the slightest… if he wants to go to battle with me, good luck I’m looking forward to it.”

London Mayor Attacks London Evening Standard Editor

Sadiq Khan has been getting a little wound up since the Evening Standard started running the “Sadiq Khan Audit” last week, looking at how well he was actually delivering on his election promises. You know, that normal thing that journalists do…

The pressure seems to have got to Sadiq, as he channelled his inner Trump to unleash an angry outburst against Evening Standard editor George Osborne during Mayoral Question Time yesterday.[…] Read the rest

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