Boris and Expenses

It’s been a tough week this week. I was angry and disappointed to learn that my former deputy had made some very serious errors of judgement when it came to expenses. He rightly stepped down and we must now move on.

I won’t gloss over my own issue with expenses. Despite being a fanatical cyclist, I have had to use taxis over the past year to travel to official functions as Mayor. To be honest, I always prefer using the bike, even to very posh functions. However, sometimes using a taxi is unavoidable.

When I was elected, I promised that I would be open and transparent – for good or for bad. Even though the release of information about expenses can be and has created negative media stories, I believe that is a price worth paying for a truly accountable mayoralty.

And it is important to focus on our broader efforts to run an open and value for money City Hall. We have made significant savings, such as cutting the media budget by £700,000 and closing down the office in Venezuela, saving £100,000.

We publish all spending over £1,000 and, more importantly, City Hall no longer spends money on narrow political causes. I am pleased to report we have not held any lavish lunches with South American dictators!

All this has enabled us to freeze our share of the council tax for the first time in 8 years.

So, I believe we have a good record when it comes to respecting your money, using it with care and in a transparent manner. I will always be in favour of shining a light into dark corners, and one thing I will promise is that you will never see anything blacked out when it shouldn’t be in any document we publish.

Boris is on Blue Blog

20 thoughts on “Boris and Expenses”

  1. It’s really good to read what is Boris’s own point of view, instead of all the silly hype in the press.

    The Mayor inherited various systems from the previous Mayorality and some of them don’t seem to be very practical. Obviously he is accountable for the expenses of his staff, but some adjustment to admin. procedures might be a good idea. I do know one thing, once Boris has identified something that is not working, he will be on it, and find a solution.

    The main thing is that the most important things are progressing well…. crime is down, he has made substantial savings, the replacement to Sir Ian Blair, Sir Paul Stephenson, is doing a brilliant job, and Boris has acted quickly and been upfront about things that have to be changed.

  2. Here is a great poem on expenses:

    I want a floating duck house
    I want to clear my moat
    I need to mend my tennis court
    That’s why I need your vote.

    I have to build a portico
    My swimming pool needs mending
    My lovely plants need horse manure
    And the Aga needs much tending

    A chandelier is vital
    Mock Tudor boards are great
    My hanging baskets won awards
    And I’ve earned a tax rebate.

    I need a glitter toilet seat.
    My piano so needs tuning
    Maltesers help me stay awake
    And my orchard must need pruning

    I could have said the rules were wrong
    And often thought I should,
    But somehow it was easier
    To profit all I could

    The public really have to see
    That the rules are there to test
    And by defrauding taxpayers
    We were just doing our best

    The Speaker of the House has gone,
    Our sacrificial beast,
    But the public are still braying
    For our corpses at the feast

    What do the public want from us,
    Those vote-wielding ingrates?
    They really should be grateful
    To be financing our estates.

    The message is so very clear,
    We’re merely learning late
    That the British way of living well
    Is to screw the bloody state.

  3. Briiliant, Alison. Can we have some more, please, to cheer us up? Perhaps Boris could employ your talents on a permanent basis! He is more than a breath of fresh air himself, and I hope his talents, too, are appreciated.

  4. Boris is a breath of fresh air
    Well away from flashy Bel Air
    On his bike to City Hall
    He holds us in his thrall

  5. There is huge support for the Mayor on twitter and one lovely lady recently called him “a political genius”.

  6. Boris should of sacked him weeks ago instead of defending him. And I don’t accept that he needs to run up such large taxi bills, he might as well go back to having a driver /car. Or maybe he could get an electric car and drive himself – much cheaper. Unfortunately there are few politicians leading by example at the moment.

    I am also disappointed with the lack of improvements for cyclists and the stupid idea that buses, motorbikes and cycles belong in the same lane!! this is a backward motion and not what I voted him in for.

  7. Audrey, at first, (and I am only going on what I learnt in the press) Boris was told that although Clements had been using his card in unauthorised ways, he settled it at the end of every month, out of his own money, so it appeared there was no financial wrongdoing.

    The Mayor then found out that Clements had changed names on his expenses, he was really taking his mistress out, so he sacked Clements immediately. I would stress I am only going on what I read in the papers.

  8. Anyone dealing with public funds should be above reproof. Audrey, the Mayor probably had to leave a taxi waiting for a while he was at a meeting. However, I think your electric car idea is very environmentally sound and should be tested.

    Cyclists should have their own dedicated lanes and there should be a campaign to keep them separate.

    Boris should seek out the more environmentally sound ideas – Go Green Boris!

  9. Boris Johnson above: “To be honest, I always prefer using the bike” except when I’m in my People Carrier (very large car, about the size of an SUV).

  10. Arnold, it’s great you love reading the blogs. We would love to read your thoughts too. Serious blogs and hilarious jokes all add to the interest….

    The Mayor wrote a great piece on Howard Stern recently, and Howard’s film PRIVATE PARTS was on ITV4 last night. Absolutely outrageous, but totally hilarious.

    Howard Stern was the originator of the “prank” phone call, that went so disastrously wrong when Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand tried it.

    Howard’s pranks were more along the lines of getting one of his gang to ring in to CNN when a pretty female interviewer was on air, to ask her seriously in front of twenty million viewers “Would you bang Howard Stern?”

  11. Great to see that poem on Boris’s blog.
    Posted that poem last week on Guido’s Blog- after receiving it from an ex-pat in Australia.

    Is that how the world sees great Britain?

  12. Scotland Yard is investigating a Conservative peer who claimed tens of thousands of pounds in overnight allowances despite living just 46 miles from Westminster, it was reported today.

    The Daily Telegraph identified the peer as frontbench transport spokesman Lord Hanningfield, who is also the leader of Essex council and has a full-time chauffeur provided by the local authority at taxpayers’ expense.

  13. Gordon Brown and expenses:

    THINK ABOUT IT – The Flying Scotsman is to be re-named in order to honour Gordon Brown

    At last Gordon Brown decided to throw the towel in and resign.

    His cabinet colleagues decided it would be a worthy gesture to name a

    railway locomotive after him. So a senior ‘Sir Humphrey’ went from

    Whitehall to the National Railway Museum at York, to investigate the


    “They have a number of locomotives at the NRM without names,” a

    specially-sought consultant told the top civil servant. “Mostly freight

    locomotives though.”

    “Oh dear, that’s not very fitting for a prime minister,” said Sir

    Humphrey. “How about that big green one, over there?” he said, pointing

    to 4472.

    “That’s already got a name” said the consultant. “It’s called ‘Flying Scotsman’.”

    “Oh. Couldn’t it be renamed?” asked Sir Humphrey. “This is a national

    museum after all, funded by the taxpayer.”

    “I suppose it might be considered,” said the consultant. “After all the

    LNER renamed a number of their locomotives after directors of the

    company, and even renamed one of them Dwight D Eisenhower.”

    “That’s excellent”, said Sir Humphrey, “So that’s settled then .. let’s

    look at renaming 4472. But how much will it cost? We can’t spend too

    much, given the expenses scandal!”

    Well, said the consultant, “We could always just paint out the ‘F'”

  14. Ha ha, Meli, that is such a funny anecdote! Sadly Gordon is still ensconced at Drowning Street.

    You have reminded me of a series that I absolutely adored, that is as fresh and funny now as it was when it was written. “Yes Minister” was absolutely brilliant writing and I so wish they would repeat it on television.

    The episode when Paul Hacker finds out that he is on an assassination list was screamingly funny and the acting was brilliant. I know that it was Lady Thatcher’s favourite tv. programme.

  15. Ha ha, that is very funny, Lying Scotsman, about time someone came right out and said that! They are skirting around it in the House of Commons for weeks!

    But of course we are only referring to the railway locomotive, ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!

  16. ps. Andy Murray goes down in flames to Roddick, never mind mate, you will come back and win it, you are only 22 years old. You have hugely enhanced your reputation.

  17. Transport for London in spending row over £2,761-a-day consultants.

    What an incredible waste of taxpayers’ money.

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