Why did Boris sneak off to San Francisco? And why did the Taxpayer pick up the tab?

June 7, 2013 3:55 pm

An interesting development over at City Hall – where questions have been raised over Boris Johnson’s trip to San Francisco in February this year.

The Mayor’s own expenses record reveals that he claimed £4000 back from the taxpayer for the return flight and one night stay in America back in February, and the form submitted by the Mayor claimed that the cost was justified by “Negotiations for a major investment in London”.

However there are no details anywhere of the visit, and the Mayor’s office are refusing to comment on the trip.

Labour’s Len Duvall, who uncovered the expense claim, has a few searching claims for the Mayor:

“We need to know what Boris has spent over £4,000 of taxpayers’ money on. He flew to San Francisco for one night back in February, Londoners have a right to know why he has spent such a large amount of our money. If it’s for a big investment into London, why didn’t he get his trip paid for as part of the deal? I know Boris has previously called £250,000 ‘chicken feed’, but £4,000 is a lot of money to ordinary people and we need to know what it’s been spent on. “If this trip really was for a secret negotiation, why didn’t City Hall pay for it up front rather than the Mayor having to claim it back on expenses. They must have known that this information would be published on the Mayor’s website, surely they can’t be that incompetent?”

Why did you sneak off to San Francisco Boris? What were you up to? And why all the secrecy?

  • David Battley

    “Sneaking” “Secrecy” “£4,000″

    Strong words, carefully made to maximise disgust over a relatively modest line item in City Hall accounts, but be careful how much political capital you attach to this, in case it relates to the following story:

    Headline article: “Boris Johnson: I am delighted London has made the final shortlist for the 2018 Gay Games”

    The article continues:

    “The cities shortlisted alongside London are Paris and Limerick. The announcement was made via a video message from the Federation of Gay Games in San Francisco on Saturday.

    “The London 2018 Committee submitted their bid earlier this year [at the end of January].”

    Source: PinkNews

  • markfergusonuk

    If that’s what it was for, why did Boris pay for it himself and claim is back? And why won’t his office say what the expense was?

  • http://www.myspace.com/jamescameron1 Orphadeus

    The timing does not relate to the gay games: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/06/01/boris-johnson-i-am-delighted-london-has-made-the-final-shortlist-for-the-2018-gay-games/

    Whether relevant, the timing appears closer to:

    (EMAILWIRE.COM, February 19, 2013 ) San Francisco, CA — Only half a year after Louise Mensch announced that she would be quitting British politics in order to focus on her family, the former MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire has now decided to throw everyone a curve-ball and launch a fashion website.
    http://www.emailwire.com/release/114482-New-Fashion-Website-Launched-by-Louise-Mensch-reports-Making-Websites-Simple.html

    • David Battley

      Are you sure? The bid to host was kicked off at the end of January, and the bid was submitted at the end of February. It seems to me that the mayor of London could quite conceivably seek a meeting with the San Francisco-based committee during that window. As Mark says, it is more interesting to understand why he would NOT want to publicise that, particularly during a period when gay rights (specifically, marriage) have been in the headlines.

      Perhaps it is simply because “brand Boris” does not want to be too closely aligned to Cameron on this topic at the moment, particularly given the Prime Minister’s current poll ratings, and so strengthening Boris’ pro-equality credentials (which are already fairly strong, at the end of the day) was considered secondary to political expediency of not antagonising the Tory faithful.

      It is definitely interesting political mischief to ask about this: I simply think Mark took the wrong line to try and find an angle that it might be inappropriate, given the singular lack of evidence and downside for being shown up as wrong if push comes to shove.

  • markfergusonuk

    That’s London…you can clearly see Tower Bridge in the background

    • http://www.myspace.com/jamescameron1 Orphadeus

      My mistake. Well spotted, its the San Fransisco 49ers Cheerleaders with Boris in London.

  • rwendland

    BorisWatch have more on this – Sir Edward Lister (Chief of Staff) and Isabel Dedring (Deputy Mayor for Transport) also went. They don’t know what the trip was about exactly, though likely transport related.

    Fun thing is that Isabel Dedring flew for £375.79 return, while the two men flew for £4,105.95 each return. Hmmm. I know who I’m most impressed with!.

    http://www.boriswatch.co.uk/2013/06/08/if-youre-going-to-san-francisco/

  • Debbie Kendall

    If he’s negotiating for a major Investment in London, they should be paying. NOT the taxpayer.

  • Pingback: If You’re Going To San Francisco…. | Boris Watch

Latest

  • Comment Why Britain’s women won’t “calm down”

    Why Britain’s women won’t “calm down”

    From November 4th until the end of 2014, women across the country will effectively be working for free. The gender pay gap means that women are paid on average 15% less than their male counterparts; we have to work an extra 60 days annually to earn the same amount as a man doing the same job. For black and minority ethnic women, the pay gap is 20%. Women in Britain need a pay rise. It was heartening to see so many […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Get used to hearing a lot more of what Cameron’s Tories really think…

    Get used to hearing a lot more of what Cameron’s Tories really think…

    The revelation earlier this week that government welfare minister Lord Freud had referred to disabled people as ‘not worth the full [minimum] wage’ seemed somewhat familiar – and not only because of the Prime Minister’s repeated assertion that, when it comes to disabled people, anything his government does is above criticism. Fans of longstanding rent-a-reactionary-view Philip ‘why it is so offensive to black up your face’ Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, will remember that he made the same point in […]

    Read more →
  • News “I rule it out”: Burnham says he won’t be making a leadership bid

    “I rule it out”: Burnham says he won’t be making a leadership bid

    Andy Burnham has been named in several newspapers lately as a possible future Labour leadership candidate, but he was keen to scotch such rumours when he appeared on Marr this morning, saying: “I rule it out… No, I am [a] Labour loyalist to my core. I am loyal to the leader, and the leader of our party, Ed Miliband, has said, the NHS will be his big priority going towards this election. I am 100% focused on developing a plan for the […]

    Read more →
  • News Tory minister: “disabled people work harder because they’re grateful to have a job”

    Tory minister: “disabled people work harder because they’re grateful to have a job”

    Tory Minister Lord Freud was put under pressure this week after he suggested that disabled people were “not worth” the minimum wage. Today another Tory Minister appears to have make similarly ill-judged (and revealing) comments about the Tory Party’s approach to disabled workers. The Independent on Sunday reports that Andrew Selous – the former parliamentary aide to Iain Duncan Smith and now a Justice Minister – told a fringe meeting: “disabled people work harder because they’re grateful to have a job”. […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Our party should welcome a debate with Farage – and we can win it

    Our party should welcome a debate with Farage – and we can win it

    By James Dray and Lewis Iwu Should UKIP be part of the televised election debates? Forget for a minute the question of whether or not Farage should be entitled to be there; instead, let’s look at the real question; can we beat him? A man who significant numbers of people see the rather obvious faults of but still really rather like? A man who decimated Nick Clegg in the European debates? We think that we can, and more importantly, we […]

    Read more →
7ads6x98y