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Murad Qureshi AM writes for the West End Extra on Boris' decision to seek a return to the Commons as well as serving out his Mayoral term. 

MAYOR of London Boris Johnson has finally confirmed politics’ worst kept secret, admitting he intends to stand at the General Election next May.

Despite previously describing being the capital’s mayor as the “greatest job in the world” Mr Johnson has had a change of heart, admitting over the weekend he simply became mayor to “show what he could do” and “gain some administrative experience”.

With his sights now set on Downing Street, Londoners could be forgiven for feeling distinctly short-changed by the part-time mayor’s decision.

It’s not only a snub to the Londoners who elected him but a question of honesty after promising to serve his full term and insisting that the job of mayor “cannot be combined with any other political capacity”.

While Mr Johnson’s interests move on, it is Londoners who will pay the price.

For the next two years their mayor will be utterly distracted – first fighting an election campaign, then as an MP if he’s successful.

All this at a time when Londoners – who are suffering a severe housing crisis, cuts to police and fire services, and some of the worst air quality in Europe –need and deserve strong leadership.

Mr Johnson’s admission that he saw the mayoralty as nothing more than a stepping stone, to help build his public profile, is reflected by his record at City Hall.

He has overseen 4,500 fewer police officers on our streets, closed 10 fire stations jeopardising the safety of Londoners, has been responsible for a 43.7 per cent increase in bus fares and a 33.2 per cent increase in tube fares; and presided over a severe housing crisis in the capital.

Londoners deserve better than a part-time mayor who is more concerned with his own political ambitions than leading their city.

In the event of getting elected back into the House of Commons in May 2015, we have two scenarios.

If the Conservatives become the opposition, this will almost immediately trigger a leadership contest, where undoubtedly Boris Johnson would throw his hat into the ring.

This would become his primary focus and concern when he is meant to be seeing out his final year as mayor.

Alternatively, were the Conservatives get re-elected, Mr Johnson would no doubt seeks a seat in cabinet, again taking him away from what should be his day job.

Neither scenario serves the best interests of Londoners who will ultimately be the ones who suffer.

While Boris Johnson pursues his political ambitions, London will be left effectively mayorless.

Sadly it now seems that is a sacrifice Boris Johnson is willing to make.

As Boris's interests move on, London is short-changed by part-timer

Murad Qureshi AM writes for the West End Extra on Boris' decision to seek a return to the Commons as well as serving out his Mayoral term. 

Housing

Figures published today show that the Mayor of London has yet to spend almost £400m of government funding for new affordable housing. The Mayor had hoped to allocate this money to housing associations and councils to build new affordable homes, but following the Mayor’s decision to allow affordable rents to reach 80 per cent of market value, associations reportedly believe that rents would be too expensive for poorer residents and are therefore not taking up the option to build.  

As reported in Inside Housing, £380m of the £1.25bn the Mayor had hoped to allocate to housing associations and councils to build new affordable homes by 2018 remains untouched, five months after the deadline for bids passed. The Mayor had previously insisted it wanted to allocate the entire £1.25bn pot by the summer.

Commenting, Tom Copley AM, London Assembly Labour Group Housing Spokesperson, said:

“The affordable housing reforms pushed through by the Mayor have come back to haunt him. Housing associations don’t want to take his money to build so-called ‘affordable housing’ which, at up to 80 per cent market rent, is not affordable for those low-income households that need it. This is a problem entirely of Boris Johnson’s own making.

“Once again it is those on the lowest incomes that will suffer the most at the hands of Boris’s mayoralty.”

Boris sitting on millions of affordable housing funding

Figures published today show that the Mayor of London has yet to spend almost £400m of government funding for new affordable housing. The Mayor had hoped to allocate this money...

BJ

Labour Group Leader Len Duvall has described Boris Johnson's announcement that he plans to return to Parliament as an MP in 2015 as a "snub to Londoners".

Len Duvall said:

“This decision is a snub to Londoners. Boris has previously stated that being Mayor of London was the “greatest job in the world”. However, it is clear he no longer thinks that. Boris will be utterly distracted for the next two years – fighting an election campaign then as an MP, if successful. All this at a time when Londoners – who are suffering a severe housing crisis, cuts to police and fire services, and some of the worst air quality in Europe – will need strong leadership most.

“It is clear that Boris saw the Mayoralty as a nothing more than a stepping stone to help build his public profile and his record at City Hall reflects that: he has overseen 4,500 less police officers on our streets, closed 10 fire stations – jeopardising the safety of Londoners, has been responsible for a 43.7% increase in bus fares and a 33.2% increase in Tube fares; and presided over a severe housing crisis in London.

“Londoners deserve better than a part-time Mayor who is more concerned with his own political ambitions than leading their city.”

Statement on Boris Johnson Announcement

Labour Group Leader Len Duvall has described Boris Johnson's announcement that he plans to return to Parliament as an MP in 2015 as a "snub to Londoners".

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