London Mayor Boris Johnson is facing a fresh controversy hard on the heels of the sacking of his key political advisor prompted by yet another exclusive on The-Latest. Yesterday Conservative leader David Cameron backed Johnson's firing of the deputy chief of staff at City Hall, James McGrath.
Labour' chiefs on the London Assembly say they are concerned about who is really running London after the appointment of another millionaire Tory to a powerful position in Johnson's administration.
Former Conservative adviser Tim Parker has been described by a top trade union as a "Prince of Darkness" who once turned up to sack thousands of factory workers in his expensive Porsche car and has been accused of targeting, sacking and "bullying out of the door sick and disabled staff" at the Automobile Association. Parker's past has forced Boris Johnson to defend his new First Deputy Mayor.
Contrary to a previous Boris announcement by Johnson, Parker will also now chair the Transport for London body. Questions are being asked about this sudden u-turn.
The London Assembly's Labour leader Len Duvall said: "Londoners need to know who is actually running their city. Is it Boris Johnson, who yesterday did not know that one of his deputies has been making major planning decisions on his behalf? Or is it his coterie of unelected appointees? The Mayor should be doing the job he was elected to do, not leaving it to his unelected backroom advisers while he writes his £250,000 a year Daily Telegraph column and looks after his constituents in Oxfordshire.
"The whole appointment process is becoming more and more bizarre by the day. We now have a First Deputy Mayor, three notional deputy mayors and a statutory Deputy Mayor whose responsibilities seem extremely vague to say the least. There is a genuine lack of clarity about their respective remits. Londoners need to know who is running this show as it's looking less and less like Boris Johnson.
"The chair of the London Assembly (Jennette Arnold) is already considering taking legal counsel as to the propriety of Mr Parker's appointment and it is rumoured that a number of other people were approached for this position before him but turned it down. At the very best it looks farcical."
The Mayor has recently appointed three multi-millionaires from the Times rich-list: Tim Parker (worth £75 million) as First Deputy Mayor, Harvey McGrath ( £172 million) to the LDA and David Ross ( £900 million) to London organising committee for the 2012 Olympic Games.
* Tim Parker was described as the Prince of Darkness by the GMB trade union. See:
* Metropolitan Police Authority chief Len Duvall and Britain's top police officer have been accused of sidelining Black detectives. Commander Shabir Hussain, 45, who was once tipped to become Britain's first Asian chief constable, said he was effectively victimised by Metropolitan Police boss Sir Ian Blair's alleged policy of surrounding himself with a 'golden circle' of handpicked favourites.
Hussain claimed he was ignored for promotion despite being more experienced and better qualified than other candidates. He told a race discrimination hearing at an employment tribunal that Blair uses his 'very significant influence' to earmark his chosen officers for promotion at the cost of other candidates.
Hussain said: 'It is unprecedented for an officer to have four failed applications for promotion from commander to deputy assistant commissioner. White officers with potential always succeed on their first or second attempt.'
One of the officers promoted over him in 2006 was Cressida Dick, despite her role in the disastrous police operation in which Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead in South London in 2005. Earlier this month, Detective Sergeant Gurpal Virdi was awarded £70,400 in damages after a tribunal ruled he was passed over for promotion because of racial discrimination.
Hussain's claim is the latest embarrassing blow for the embattled commissioner, who pledged to clamp down on racism in the force.