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.

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