Mayor Boris accused of looking for an easy ride'
PUBLISHED: 15:42 29 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:47 16 August 2010
BORIS Johnson has come under fire over his choice of venue for his mayor s question time, writes Kate Nelson. The Conservative Mayor of London is holding the event at Bromley Civic Centre next Thursday but critics have accused him of looking for an easy
BORIS Johnson has come under fire over his choice of venue for his mayor's question time, writes Kate Nelson.
The Conservative Mayor of London is holding the event at Bromley Civic Centre next Thursday but critics have accused him of looking for an "easy ride" because he is well liked in the borough.
Mr Johnson received the majority of the mayoral votes in Bromley and the evening will be chaired by Conservative London Assembly Member for Bromley and Bexley, James Cleverly.
Labour councillor, John Getgood, said: "We're not surprised that Boris Johnson has chosen to come to Bromley first. He needs an easy ride. His proposals for so called savings in London's budget can only be achieved by cuts in front line services but that won't worry Bromley Tories.
"We will try to make sure Johnson faces up to real issues when he's here but by choosing Bromley as his first visit, Johnson is showing that his main priority is the more prosperous areas of London and the rest can be ignored."
Other posts on the www.boriswatch.co.uk website also criticise the Mayor's venue choice.
One from a 'Tom' reads: "That's Bromley, as in 'way out of London, nearly in Kent' Bromley, the Bromley that voted overwhelmingly Tory in May. Just to banish any lingering doubts that this might be anything other than an exercise in blue-washing, the event will be chaired by local AM James Cleverly. Who's a Tory. Is it just me, or is this not quite the Brave New World of mayoral accountability we were promised? If you want to send out a message of inclusiveness you don't pick an area that recently hosted the event and just happens to be where you picked up the most votes. That sounds more like a triumphal rally than a true exercise in democracy. Perhaps, like the Ancient Romans, they can erect a Boris Column in the high street."
Another from Peter Hulme Cross, reads: "Having it in Bromley again so soon after the last time, when there is the whole of London to choose from, does have a whiff of 'let's give him a friendly audience for his first people's question time' about it.
Assembly Member Mr Cleverly, said: "These claims are rubbish. It's not only Bromley residents who can attend, anyone can whether they are pleased with him or not. With regards to him ignoring the tougher parts of London, again it doesn't even warrant a response. If you look back at the places Boris Johnson has visited it compares very favourably with Ken Livingstone who actually completely ignored Bromley and Bexley."
Registration for advance tickets has now closed. People can queue on the night but preference will be given to ticket holders.
A spokesman for the Mayor said: "At his first People's Question Time event, the Mayor expects a rigorous and healthy debate from the people of Bromley about the issues that matter to them and affect their everyday lives.
"The Mayor made it clear in his manifesto that he didn't think it was in the interests of democracy and transparency to have these meetings, which hold the Mayor and Assembly to account, just twice a year.
"He has committed to holding a maximum of six of these a year and over the Mayor's four year term, meetings will be held in every GLA constituency across London."