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…

Exclusive: Shaun Bailey is Tory Mayoral Candidate

Guido sources say the Tory London mayoral result was Shaun Bailey 44%, Andrew Boff 35%, Joy Morrissey 21% on first preferences. Shaun won 53% after second preferences were taken into account. Official announcement due later…

UPDATE: Ladbrokes make him 3/1 to be next Mayor. It is going to take a heck of a fight…

Tory Mayoral Runners & Riders

Shaun Bailey

Elected to the London Assembly two years ago, Bailey is the favourite in the contest, 3/1 to win against Khan, and seen as CCHQ’s preferred candidate. Co-founded a youth charity and can sometimes be found back-flipping across City Hall. Born in North Kensington, to parents who came to Britain from Jamaica. Firm favourite to win…

Endorsed by: Greg Hands, Zac Goldsmith, David Evennett, Chris Philp, Nick Hurd, Michael Gove, Conservative Friends of Israel, Evening Standard.

Joy Morrissey

American. Ealing Councillor. Former Centre for Social Justice wonk. Stood for Ealing Central and Acton in 2017. Once rode a man like a pantomime horse in a comedy ‘bonk fest‘. Fan of free markets and individual responsibility. Lower profile…

Endorsed by: Justine Greening, Vicky Ford, Andrea Leadsom, Mark Field, Priti Patel, Iain Duncan Smith, Andrew Rosindell, Bernard Jenkin, Guy Opperman, Stephen Hammond, Nicky Morgan.

Andrew Boff

Sound as a pound. A member of the London Assembly since 2008, Boff regularly takes Sadiq Khan to task in Mayor’s Question Time. He is a tax cutting, weed legalising, tube automating, spending slashing, true blue “liberal and Conservative”. Despite strong support from young socially liberal Tories, he is the perennial runner-up, having fought for the Tory London Mayoral nomination in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2016. Deserves a seat in Parliament…

Endorsed by: Theresa Villiers, Bob Neill, Penny Mordaunt, think tankers galore.

Registered members of the Conservative Party in London have been emailed ballots and have until 5pm on Wednesday 26th September to vote…

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. Is it a good long-term strategy for the London Mayor to be launching personal attacks on the editor of one of London’s biggest papers?

Tory Mayoral Candidate Embroiled in Ongoing Probe By UK Audit Watchdog

After much speculation about a mystery big name female business figure being lined up as a Tory London mayoral candidate, it was announced this week that Ruby McGregor-Smith is running. A big name in the literal sense. So who is she?

McGregor-Smith is a self-styled successful businesswoman who was the boss of cleaning company Mitie until October 2016. She quit the company after a profit warning and as the company restated its accounts following an ‘accounting issue’. At the time she faced calls to have £2 million in bonuses taken away from her. When she said she was stepping down to spend more time with her family, the Evening Standard’s city editor Jim Armitage commented: “Believe that, and you’ll believe anything”, reporting the company had “lost its way” during her tenure and concluding: “I doubt the board begged McGregor-Smith to stay”.

In November 2017, the FT reported that individuals responsible for preparing and approving the Mitie accounts were under investigation by the Financial Reporting Council, the UK’s audit watchdog. McGregor-Smith did not respond to requests for comment from the FT. Mitie admitted it had been aggressive in its accounting practices. A spokesman for the Financial Reporting Council says the investigation is ongoing…

Tory Mayoral Candidate Longlist

  • Shaun Bailey – Bookies’ favourite at the moment. Has received endorsements from several prominent Tories. London Assembly Member who is one of the few candidates with a backstory to rival Khan’s. Has been effective in his criticism of the mayor over knife crime. 
  • Andrew Boff – Perennial candidate.
  • Duwayne Brooks: Joined the Tories a few weeks ago and is being talked up by insiders. Has branded Sadiq “the worst mayor ever”One to watch.
  • Simone Finn: Well-liked around Westminster and certainly no push over. Cut her teeth fundraising for Boris’ first mayoral bid, impressive CV – qualified accountant, worked on trade promotion (so well placed to sell London abroad), and known to leave civil servants quaking in their boots. She did more than anyone else to get trade union agreement on pension reform over the line, so well placed to deal with TFL. Puts the party in Conservative Party.:
  • Alison Cork: According to ConHome, Alison is “an entrepreneur, specialising in home interiors, and television presenter”. Google says she hosts the QVC shopping channel.
  • Ruby McGregor-Smith: Via Harry Cole, she broke whip to vote to keep us in customs union and single market, leading ministers to seek her sacking just a few months ago. What are CCHQ doing putting her on the list?
  • Kulveer Ranger: Former Boris adviser who was very effective in City Hall. Not sure he could take the pay cut.
  • Joy Morrissey: Works at the Centre for Social Justice, a mother, a Councillor in Ealing as well as the former parliamentary candidate for Ealing Central & Acton. Not really a household name.
  • Kevin Davis: Former leader of Kingston council.
  • Andrew Rosindell: The hardline Brexiteer candidate now Richard Tice didn’t make the running.

Good luck…

New Names For Tory Mayoral Candidate

A couple more names have thrown their hats in the ring to be the Tory mayoral candidate:

  • Andrew Rosindell: The Romford MP plans to challenge Sadiq on knife crime and Brexit. Careful with the leaflets this time, Rozzer.
  • Joy Morrissey: Works at the Centre for Social Justice, a mother, a Councillor in Ealing as well as the former parliamentary candidate for Ealing Central & Acton. Not a household name, but then not many are forthcoming. 
  • Richard Tice: The Leave.EU co-founder has submitted his form to CCHQ and says he is running as the “business candidate”. Suspect CCHQ might say “f*** business” on this one.
  • Nimco Ali: The impressive anti-FGM campaigner says she is putting her name forward as a “symbolic” candidate and wants to be the deputy mayor for women and girls. Shame it’s only symbolic. 

Other key runners and riders:

  • Shaun Bailey: London Assembly Member who is one of the few candidates with a backstory to rival Khan’s. Has been effective in his criticism of the mayor over knife crime. 
  • Kulveer Ranger: Another former Boris adviser who was very effective in City Hall.
  • Duwayne Brooks: Joined the Tories a few weeks ago and is being talked up by insiders. Has branded Sadiq “the worst mayor ever”One to watch.
  • Andrew Boff: Perennial candidate. Ladbrokes favourite…
  • Rohan Silva: Former blue sky digital tech guru to Cameron and Osborne, Silva went on to found the Second Home workspace in Spitalfields. His name has been doing the rounds, he’s a Remainer but would be good for the youth vote and a more interesting candidate than some of those below. 
  • Nick de Bois: Former Enfield MP. CCHQ took his advice on bringing the selection forwards. Has outlined how he would beat Sadiq here.

Any others, get in touch

Cleverly Rules Out Mayoral Bid

James Cleverly joins Justine Greening, George Osborne and Ed Vaizey in ruling himself out of the Tory mayoral nomination:

Which leaves the remaining runners and riders:

  • Shaun Bailey: London Assembly Member who is one of the few candidates with a backstory to rival Khan’s. Has been effective in his criticism of the mayor over knife crime. 
  • Syed Kamall: Time for a Brexiter mayor of London? Came second to Zac in the Tory nomination stakes last time round. Popular with true believers.
  • Kulveer Ranger: Another former Boris adviser who was very effective in City Hall.
  • Duwayne Brooks: Friend of Stephen Lawrence who was with him when he was murdered. Joined the Tories a couple of weeks ago and is being talked up by insiders. Has branded Sadiq “the worst mayor ever”One to watch.
  • Andrew Boff: Perennial candidate. Ladbrokes favourite…
  • Richard Tice: The businessman who co-founded Leave.EU is an accomplished media performer – readers will remember his punchy Question Time appearance. Would be bold to choose a Brexiter in London, though.
  • Rohan Silva: Former blue sky digital tech guru to Cameron and Osborne, Silva went on to found the Second Home workspace in Spitalfields. His name has been doing the rounds, he’s a Remainer but would be good for the youth vote and a more interesting candidate than some of those below. 
  • Munira Mirza: Former deputy mayor to Boris, she wrote compellingly for the Speccie a couple of months back about how stop and search is the best weapon in the fight against knife crime. The Tories have a real shortage of strong female candidates – indeed Mirza might be the only one.
  • Gavin Barwell: Was sniffing around last year when he thought things were falling apart in Number 10. Would someone who couldn’t hold Croydon be able to win London? There are local whispers that Barwell now has his eye on Bob Stewart’s 15,000 majority Beckenham seat instead…
  • Nick de Bois: Former Enfield MP. CCHQ took his advice on bringing the selection forwards. Has outlined how he would beat Sadiq here.

The big names shunning a doomed campaign…

UPDATE: Syed Kamall rules himself out too, “The announcement of hustings so soon means I cannot take part and still fulfil my role in helping to get the best possible deal between the UK and EU.”

New Names For Tory Mayoral Runners and Riders

Two new names for Guido’s runners and riders list for Tory mayoral candidate:

  • Richard Tice: The businessman who co-founded Leave.EU is an accomplished media performer – readers will remember his punchy Question Time appearance. Would be bold to choose a Brexiter in London, though.
  • Rohan Silva: Former blue sky digital tech guru to Cameron and Osborne, Silva went on to found the Second Home workspace in Spitalfields. His name has been doing the rounds, he’s a Remainer but would be good for the youth vote and a more interesting candidate than some of those below. 

Two names out of the running:

  • George Osborne: Told a Tory activist last week he is not interested in running for mayor.
  • Ed Vaizey: Has ruled himself out and endorsed Justine Greening.

Justine remains the favourite:

  • Justine Greening: Another big Remainer, she has been the front-runner among pundits so far. One of the few women in the running. Though hardly an inspiring choice, and would the Tories be able to defend her 1,500 majority if there was a by-election in Putney?
  • Shaun Bailey: London Assembly Member who is one of the few candidates with a backstory to rival Khan’s. Has been effective in his criticism of the mayor over knife crime. 
  • Syed Kamall: Time for a Brexiter mayor of London? Came second to Zac in the Tory nomination stakes last time round. Popular with true believers.
  • Kulveer Ranger: Another former Boris adviser who was very effective in City Hall. Tipped in the Sunday Times after Guido’s post last week.
  • Duwayne Brooks: Friend of Stephen Lawrence who was with him when he was murdered. Joined the Tories a couple of weeks ago and is being talked up by insiders. Has branded Sadiq “the worst mayor ever”. One to watch.
  • Munira Mirza: Former deputy mayor to Boris, she wrote compellingly for the Speccie a couple of months back about how stop and search is the best weapon in the fight against knife crime. The Tories have a real shortage of strong female candidates – indeed Mirza might be the only one.
  • Gavin Barwell: Was sniffing around last year when he thought things were falling apart in Number 10. Would someone who couldn’t hold Croydon be able to win London? There are local whispers that Barwell now has his eye on Bob Stewart’s 15,000 majority Beckenham seat instead…
  • James Cleverly: Would be a good candidate. But he is rising quickly through the ranks at Westminster and it is hard to see why he’d give that up for what is going to be a very difficult contest for the Tories.
  • Nick de Bois: Former Enfield MP. CCHQ took his advice on bringing the selection forwards. Has outlined how he would beat Sadiq here.
  • Andrew Boff: Perennial candidate.

The Tories need someone with a bit of x-factor if they are going to make things interesting against Sadiq…

Tory London Mayoral Candidate Runners and Riders

ConHome reports that the Tory candidate for London mayor will be selected after a three month campaign this summer and a vote in September. As ever, Guido brings you your runners and riders…

  • George Osborne: There have been rumours for a while that Osborne fancies it. Could he afford the pay cut from giving up his eight jobs? Is he even on the approved Candidates List or a member of the Conservative Party? One of, if not the only name big enough to make things interesting against Sadiq…
  • Ed Vaizey: The arch-Remainer has joked about standing and has the charisma to make it a fun race: “I will obviously thump Sadiq in an election if I choose to stand. When I win, I will continue Sadiq’s work”. He has also appeared to rule himself out, admitting: “I’m far too lazy to campaign.”
  • Justine Greening: Another big Remainer, she has been the front-runner among pundits so far. One of the few women in the running. Though hardly an inspiring choice, and would the Tories be able to defend her 1,500 majority if there was a by-election in Putney?
  • Gavin Barwell: Was sniffing around last year when he thought things were falling apart in Number 10. Would someone who couldn’t hold Croydon be able to win London? There are local whispers that Barwell now has his eye on Bob Stewart’s 15,000 majority Beckenham seat instead…
  • Shaun Bailey: London Assembly Member who is one of the few candidates with a backstory to rival Khan’s. Has been effective in his criticism of the mayor over knife crime. 
  • Duwayne Brooks: Friend of Stephen Lawrence who was with him when he was murdered. Joined the Tories a couple of weeks ago and is being talked up by insiders. Has branded Sadiq “the worst mayor ever”. One to watch.
  • James Cleverly: Would be a good candidate. But he is rising quickly through the ranks at Westminster and it is hard to see why he’d give that up for what is going to be a very difficult contest for the Tories.
  • Munira Mirza: Former deputy mayor to Boris, she wrote compellingly for the Speccie a couple of months back about how stop and search is the best weapon in the fight against knife crime. The Tories have a real shortage of strong female candidates – indeed Mirza might be the only one.
  • Kulveer Ranger: Another former Boris adviser who was very effective in City Hall. Could he take the pay cut from running strategy and comms at Atos?
  • Syed Kamall: Time for a Brexiter mayor of London? Came second to Zac in the Tory nomination stakes last time round. Popular with true believers.
  • Nick de Bois: Former Enfield MP. CCHQ took his advice on bringing the selection forwards. Has outlined how he would beat Sadiq here.
  • Andrew Boff: Perennial candidate.

Good luck… you’re going to need it.

Does George Osborne Want to Be Mayor of London?

There is a rumour going round that Osborne is bored of being the editor of London’s evening paper and is contemplating a run for mayor of London. Presumably he would not add a seventh job to his current resume and would have to step down. Could he afford the pay-cut? Is he even on the Tory candidates’ list? George could of course run for one of the those centrist metropolitan elite parties that we read about in the broadsheets…

Khan Breaks Another Election Promise

Sadiq Khan’s wasting of money on gimmicks and cronyism sees the Mayor announcing an increase in the Council Tax precept of 5.1%, well ahead of inflation and breaking his promise to “keep the GLA council tax precept down as far as possible”.

By Guido’s count this takes his broken election promises to 7:

TfL fares

Promise: ‘I want to be crystal clear – no ifs, no buts – what you’ll pay if I’m elected Mayor in May 2016 is what you’ll pay at the end of my 4 years in office’

Reality: Daily and weekly caps are rising by an average of 2%, Travelcard season ticket prices are rising by an average of 2%.

Affordable housing

Promise: “Sadiq will set a target for 50 per cent of all new homes in London to be genuinely affordable.”

Reality: His new policy is that he hopes to convince developers to voluntarily meet a target of 35% affordable housing.

Police

Promise: 32,000 police officers on London’s streets.

Reality: Now only committing enough funds to maintain force’s current strength of 31,000 officers.

Trees

Promise: “plant two million trees by 2020”

Reality: “No tree planting has been funded since the beginning of this administration”

Green energy

Promise: Make London run on 100% green energy by 2050.

Reality: Sadiq’s team admit they have no idea what the percentage was when he took over, let alone today, because energy generation is apparently now a matter for central government.

Strikes

Promise: “Make sure there are zero days of strikes”

Reality: Tube strike travel chaos aplenty in his first year.

7 broken manifesto promises in his first year in office…

Khan Lies His Way Through Marr

Asked by Marr if he regretted his broken promise to freeze travel fares in London, Sadiq Khan said he was “really proud” that fares have been frozen. Does he think Londoners are stupid? During the mayoral campaign Khan pledged: “Londoners won’t pay a penny more for their travel in 2020 than they do today.” Under Khan fares then rose on travelcards, daily caps and monthly Oyster cards. It’s no good blaming the government – TfL advised him he could freeze all fares and even gave him a cost plan. Interviewers shouldn’t let Khan get away with this broken promise of Nick Clegg proportions, not to mention the extraordinary shamelessness of saying he’s “proud” about it…

Then Marr asked him about Uber. Khan said “I’ve never knowingly taken an Uber”. He really does think we’re stupid. In a 2015 interview with the BBC he described himself as an “Uber man”. It is baffling that Khan gets away with all these demonstrable untruths and broken promises, whether on fares, housing, police, trees, green energy or strikes. Is he really proud?

Slippery Khan Weaponises Attacks to Blast May, Hours After She Defended Him

Yesterday Theresa May defended Sadiq Khan against the criticism from Donald Trump, insisting the mayor was doing a good job and that Trump was wrong to send those trolling tweets. How is Khan repaying her? This morning he is weaponising the London attacks, warning that May’s “planned Conservative spending cuts” will make it “harder to foil future terrorist attacks“. All’s fair in elections of course but this is quite the betrayal given just hours ago May was standing up for Sadiq on the international stage. This is why Labour veterans say you can’t trust Khan as far as you can throw him…

Trump Trolls Khan

Readers of this site will know that Guido can hardly be described as a defender of Sadiq Khan. But Trump has gone off the reservation – deliberately misrepresenting Khan’s words and then doubling down on his baseless attack on the mayor of the capital city of his closest ally. Imagine if the British PM had behaved in this way towards the New York mayor after 9/11. That sound you can hear is the collective facepalm from the PM’s aides…

Khan’s Website Says Election Promises Now “Out of Date”

Sadiq Khan has been getting a lot of deserved stick over his election campaign website, which awkwardly still lists the promises he has failed to keep since becoming mayor. Head over to Sadiq.London and you will find Khan’s pledges to build 80,000 homes a year, to plant two million trees by 2020 and to reduce bus fares in his first year. None of which have been kept. How is Team Sadiq dealing with his embarrassing website? They have updated it to include the following disclaimer:

“Some of the information on this page may be out of date and does not reflect campaign pledges or Mayoral policy.”

Eh? So the promises on Khan’s website don’t “reflect campaign pledges” and are now “out of date”? Asked about the disclaimer at Assembly questions, Khan said he isn’t sure who added it. A novel approach to promise breaking from London’s increasingly slippery Mayor…

UPDATE: Tory Assembly member Andrew Boff says:

“Since I began asking him some awkward questions about it, a disclaimer has mysteriously appeared on the site, effectively conceding the promises amount to nothing. You couldn’t make it up. This is about a Mayor presenting a misleading picture of himself during an election campaign on an official and very public website. He may now claim the information is out of date and irrelevant, but that will be little comfort to those who no doubt voted for him on the back of these phantom pledges.”

Khan Hosting Party Tonight With 11 Nations Who Ban Israelis

Just hours after demanding the government rescinds its invite to President Trump over his travel ban, Sadiq Khan will tonight host a City Hall reception with 11 dignitaries whose countries bar Israeli citizens from entering. Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen will all be represented at the gathering of ambassadors this evening. All 11 of these countries block travel to Israeli passport holders. Khan will use tonight’s party to criticise Trump’s ban as “cruel, prejudiced and counterproductive.While dining with 11 diplomats whose countries have done the same for years…

UPDATE: Tory London Assembly member Andrew Boff says:

“I fully support the Mayor’s condemnation of President Trump’s divisive travel ban but he should also be willing to condemn those countries that discriminate against citizens from Israel – particularly when he is hosting their representatives at a drinks reception at City Hall.”

UKIP’s Peter Whittle adds:

“Will the Mayor use this occasion to speak out against the 11 countries that permanently ban Israelis? Of course he won’t. Will he rescind their invites to this party, just as he’s calling for the state visit to be stopped? Of course he won’t. Like the protesters yesterday, his outrage is highly selective.”

And Nigel Farage tells Sadiq:

“You want Trump banned from UK but are happy with anti-Israeli discrimination. You are a hypocrite.”

Khan Broken Promise #7: U-Turns on Olympics Tax

Sadiq Khan is still taxing Londoners to pay for the 2012 Olympics despite the bill for the games having been met, breaking a key campaign promise to abolish the ‘one-off’ levy. Khan said he would drop a council tax precept which amounts to £8 on the average band D property once the £625 million bill for the Olympics had been paid off by 2017. During a City Hall budget debate this week it emerged Khan is continuing to impose the tax and is now directing the funds towards non-Olympic projects. London Assembly Member Gareth Bacon says:

“The mayor needs to apologise to Londoners for breaking his promise to remove this tax. He also needs to properly balance his books without using Olympic money, which was never intended to be his blank cheque.”

This is Khan’s seventh broken promise in eight months…

Sadiq Spoils Corbyn’s Main Attack Line

Lifelong Eurosceptic Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t have much to criticise the government about on Brexit. His main attacks are that Theresa May is creating a “bargain basement economy” and that Labour will table amendments to the Article 50 legislation to prevent the Tories from harming workers’ rights. Speaking in City Hall this morning Sadiq Khan has completely rubbished this attack line:

“I know that the government, for example David Davies, has met with Frances O’Grady from the TUC, and a number of people who care about workers rights. Again, to give credit to the government, I don’t think they want to weaken workers rights. And I’m hoping that what we have now is a floor not a ceiling. What none of us want to see is a dilution of workers rights or a race to the bottom. That’s why there’s been some anxiety with comments about us being, inverted commas, an offshore tax haven, because the implication is that would lead to a dilution of workers rights. I’ve seen no evidence from the conversations I’ve had with senior members of the government that that’s their aspiration or their intention or something they want to do. Which is good.”

Arguably Labour’s main attack line on the government blown out of the water by their most popular elected figure…

Khan Finally Admits He Could Have Frozen All Fares

At last! Sadiq Khan has finally admitted to ITV London that “hypothetically it’s possible” that he could have frozen all fares, including Travelcards. In other words, he was wrong when he claimed it was out of his power. This is massively embarrassing.[…] Read the rest

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