Boris gets tough on expenses claims: will O’Connell be next?

London Mayor Boris Johnson with the extremely well paid Steve O'Connell: one slip of the Tram driver's hand brake and...

This is an interesting little note on Dave Hill’s London page of the Grauniad website: London Mayor Boris Johnson publicly reprimanding a Tory London Assembly member for his avaricious expenses claims.

Last week, after some diligent work by a hyperlocal website in Barnet, Boris was forced to write of Brian Coleman, the second-best paid member of the London Assembly:

“The Mayor is disappointed with Brian Coleman, does not approve of his extravagant expenses and has made this clear to him. Only members of the London fire and emergency planning authority, however, can tighten the expenses regime relevant here. We’d encourage them to do so.”

It is interesting that Boris should hang out to dry one of his more senior and trusted lieutenants at City Hall. The Mayoral elections are now less than a year away.

Here in Croydon, we observe Boris’s reprimand with interest because, of course, we can lay claim to the local councillor with the biggest pay packet in the country in Steve O’Connell, who pockets more even than Coleman with his £118,000 per year from the London Assembly, Metropolitan Police Authority and including £43,000-odd in “allowances” as a borough councillor.

We’re beginning to wonder how O’Connell would manage to make ends meet if, as expected, he steps forward to replace Croydon South‘s absentee MP, Richard Ottaway, at the next parliamentary election (back bench MPs are paid a “mere” £65,000).

Of course, we’ll also be keeping a look at O’Connell’s future expense claims, since the Mayor takes such a dim view of elected local officials taking the public for a ride.

Croydon’s Conservative councillors: Proud to Serve, if the money’s right

via Boris Johnson: a telling-off for Brian Coleman over his (latest) ‘extravagant’ expenses | Politics | guardian.co.uk.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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