At Mayor’s Question Time today Andrew Dismore, Labour London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden challenged Mayor Boris Johnson over his broken commitment to publish his deal with West Ham to use the Olympic Stadium.
After he was ordered to do so by the Information Commissioner, the Mayor has published only heavily redacted version of the agreement, which leaves out all the crucial details.
Mr Dismore reminded the Mayor of what he had told Mr Dismore at September’s Mayor’s Question Time:
‘ You said:
‘I would be perfectly happy to publish the details of this arrangement. They (i.e. West Ham) may be trying to take legal action.
‘The reason we have not published the detail so far is because we have only just concluded the last letting of the contracts.... we did not want to put out anything that would impact on our ability to negotiate future contracts.
‘I am very happy to release all the details… As far as I am concerned, get it out there’.
Of course, that was only after the Information Commissioner’s order to do so.
‘You left the impression last time that you wanted all the details out, you would publish everything now the last contract was let, and it was only West Ham who weren’t happy.
‘In fact what has happened , is that you haven’t published everything have you, only a heavily redacted version which leaves out all the important details, and it’s not West Ham that’s gone to court to challenge the Information Commissioner , it’s you isn’t it?
‘The fact is, you are perfectly happy not to release all the details aren’t you, because it means you are not exposed as having given West Ham the unfair and anti competitive advantage over all the other premier league clubs which you did , and keeping it secret means the public won’t see how West Ham took you to the cleaners with the public’s money and assets, will they?’
After MQT Mr Dismore added:
‘The Mayor’s wriggling is obvious to all. Realistically, there cannot be any commercial problem as all the contracts have now been let , the deal is already 2 years old, and will last for years to come. the public interest is clear. We are all entitled to know just how much West Ham is paying, and the extent to which the deal takes the Mayor ‘to the cleaners’. Other clubs are entitled to see the extent to which the deal is anti competitive and gives West Ham an unfair commercial advantage. The Information Commissioner has ordered disclosure. The Mayor said before he was willing t o release it and only West Ham weren’t happy. Obviously, this wasn’t true as the Mayor’s LLDC is the one appealing not West Ham. The Mayor must come clean and publish the whole deal without further prevarication’.
The redacted agreement can be found here.
You can watch the exchange by clicking here.