Looney left turn Mayor’s Questions into a farce

This morning I watched an appalling abuse of political process at MQT.

A number of members of the Assembly wanted an extended opportunity to question the Mayor about Ian Clement’s expenses, I see nothing wrong with that desire. There are a number of committees through which that could be done, the Audit panel, Business Management and Administration Committee (BMAC), Budget and Performance Committee or even MQTs.

A letter was sent asking the mayor to come to a meeting of BMAC which would have been specially convened for the purpose of asking about the expenses. The Mayor highlighted the fact that the first question on the order paper at today’s MQT was about Ian’ expenses and there didn’t seem much point in coming to two meetings to answer exactly the same questions on the same issue.

The Lib Dems, supported by Lab and the Greens took exception to this and forced through a vote changing the rules so that the normal time allocation at MQT be removed. This gave them the chance to use our time allocation to asked their questions, the time allocation is based on share of Assembly seats and therefore the share of the popular mandate.

I agree that Ian Clement’s actions, Boris’ and City Hall’s response are all important topics, but so is the £30-40 million black hole in the LDA’s Olympic budget that was left to fester under the previous mayor, so is the £22 million raid by Whitehall on the LDA’s budget, so were lots of other issues which got sidelined because the left do not respect democracy and felt that their questions were more important than ours.

6 responses to “Looney left turn Mayor’s Questions into a farce

  1. James, whether or not you agreed with the emergency motion, it was within the rules and was decided on a vote. How some of your colleagues then behaved was not very edifying.

    Shouting down your opponents and hurling insults about just doesn't look good. It was farcical and lots of people in the audience were laughing as I'm sure you're aware.

    Boris hasn't had a great few weeks, but behaviour like that won't help him. Towards the end of Ken's term he would lash out at his critics on the Assembly. I think that was a sign of weakness, just as the behaviour by some in the Conservative group yesterday was a sign of weakness.

    And I don't think many people would consider Mike Tuffrey a member of the 'loony left' would they?

  2. James, whether or not you agreed with the emergency motion, it was within the rules and was decided on a vote. How some of your colleagues then behaved was not very edifying.

    Shouting down your opponents and hurling insults about just doesn't look good. It was farcical and lots of people in the audience were laughing as I'm sure you're aware.

    Boris hasn't had a great few weeks, but behaviour like that won't help him. Towards the end of Ken's term he would lash out at his critics on the Assembly. I think that was a sign of weakness, just as the behaviour by some in the Conservative group yesterday was a sign of weakness.

    And I don't think many people would consider Mike Tuffrey a member of the 'loony left' would they?

  3. Can you clarify something for me? I'm sure that at the beginning of MQTs Mike Tuffrey said that the mayor had refused to turn up to the BMAC in person and that was why the Lib Dems had brought this vote to the assembly. Here's what MT said at the beginning of the meeting (from the webcast):

    'At the last meeting the mayor enjoined us to call Ian Clement before him and, in any way we chose, to investigate the question of expenses. When we started this investigation we discovered there was a period in which the mayor was personally responsible, so we invited him to come to BMAC for an ordinary srutiny session to get to the bottom of it. He in effect refused by placing impossible conditions on it and saying he would only deal with it here, therefore I move an emergency motion to suspend standing orders to allow the chair to conduct this part of the meeting, hopefully only half and hour or so depending on the answers, as though it were a scrutiny session, so there is no limitation on our scrutiny of this matter.'

    I'm not going to try to read behind the lines but it sounds as though the mayor – and I'm trying to search for a suitably bland word – frustrated the swiftness and ease with which AMs (who have busy jobs sitting on other committees, not to mention representing their constituents) could do their duty and get this necessary but distracting inconvenience out of the way.

    It's obvious what the mayor's role was and he explained it quite eloquently and succinctly in that half hour in front of the assembly. Most people could have inferred what his role in it was without having it spelled out. But it's not open to those charged with conducting the enquiry to infer anything is it? They have to hear the evidence officially. They can't take anythng said at last mponth's MQTs as official evidence because it wasn't then given in that capacity – as part of an official scrutiny.

    It does seem downright weird for the mayor to refuse to give evidence before an official scrutinty session but that's what MT claims and, you know, MT wouldn't just make that up – it's a serious allegation. So what's happening here?

    One of three things are all I can think of that must have happened:
    1. he delayed turning up to the scrutiny session.
    2. He said that he'd already answered questions on Clement at the last session – which like I said wasn't part of an official scrutiny.
    3. He advised AMs to ask questions about expenses as part of standing orders, which again wouldn't be part of an official scrutiny, and would actually do exactly what you complain about – force AMs to take up their valuable questions about LDA funding, transport etc to ask about expenses.

    Don't you think MT was motivated by a desperation just to get the whole thing sorted and out of the way?

  4. Can you clarify something for me? I'm sure that at the beginning of MQTs Mike Tuffrey said that the mayor had refused to turn up to the BMAC in person and that was why the Lib Dems had brought this vote to the assembly. Here's what MT said at the beginning of the meeting (from the webcast):

    'At the last meeting the mayor enjoined us to call Ian Clement before him and, in any way we chose, to investigate the question of expenses. When we started this investigation we discovered there was a period in which the mayor was personally responsible, so we invited him to come to BMAC for an ordinary srutiny session to get to the bottom of it. He in effect refused by placing impossible conditions on it and saying he would only deal with it here, therefore I move an emergency motion to suspend standing orders to allow the chair to conduct this part of the meeting, hopefully only half and hour or so depending on the answers, as though it were a scrutiny session, so there is no limitation on our scrutiny of this matter.'

    I'm not going to try to read behind the lines but it sounds as though the mayor – and I'm trying to search for a suitably bland word – frustrated the swiftness and ease with which AMs (who have busy jobs sitting on other committees, not to mention representing their constituents) could do their duty and get this necessary but distracting inconvenience out of the way.

    It's obvious what the mayor's role was and he explained it quite eloquently and succinctly in that half hour in front of the assembly. Most people could have inferred what his role in it was without having it spelled out. But it's not open to those charged with conducting the enquiry to infer anything is it? They have to hear the evidence officially. They can't take anythng said at last mponth's MQTs as official evidence because it wasn't then given in that capacity – as part of an official scrutiny.

    It does seem downright weird for the mayor to refuse to give evidence before an official scrutinty session but that's what MT claims and, you know, MT wouldn't just make that up – it's a serious allegation. So what's happening here?

    One of three things are all I can think of that must have happened:
    1. he delayed turning up to the scrutiny session.
    2. He said that he'd already answered questions on Clement at the last session – which like I said wasn't part of an official scrutiny.
    3. He advised AMs to ask questions about expenses as part of standing orders, which again wouldn't be part of an official scrutiny, and would actually do exactly what you complain about – force AMs to take up their valuable questions about LDA funding, transport etc to ask about expenses.

    Don't you think MT was motivated by a desperation just to get the whole thing sorted and out of the way?

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