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Credit card row - Mayor urged to sack deputy and former council leader

PUBLISHED: 13:40 11 June 2009 | UPDATED: 16:50 25 August 2010

Deputy Mayor Ian Clement

Deputy Mayor Ian Clement

LONDON Mayor Boris Johnson has been urged to sack one of his deputies after it was discovered he spent £1,500 of taxpayers money on personal items. Deputy mayor for government and external relations, Ian Clement, was ordered to hand back his Greater Lon

LONDON Mayor Boris Johnson has been urged to sack one of his deputies after it was discovered he spent £1,500 of taxpayers' money on personal items.

Deputy mayor for government and external relations, Ian Clement, was ordered to hand back his Greater London Authority (GLA) credit card after the probe where it is believed he spent the cash on eating out and personal groceries.

Mr Clement, who was earning £34,000 a year as Bexley council leader up to May last year before landing the £127,000 job at the GLA, was said to have paid back the funds "at the earliest opportunity".

But he had continued to use the credit card to pay for personal items over two months.

Ian Lindon is chairman of Bexley Local Agency 21 (LA21), a volunteer group that promotes policies on recycling, traffic and transport, and parks.

He said: "When they issue the cards they are told what to use it for.

"This goes back to the MP's debacle where they think they can use public money how they like.

"There should be serious questions over whether he should be allowed to stay in office.

"We are not just talking about a couple of hundred pounds, this was £1,500. He must have known it was inappropriate."

Parliamentary candidate for Old Bexley and Sidcup, Duncan Borrowman, said: "The public are sick to death of the abuse of expenses by politicians.

"The fact he has paid the money back is not enough, the fact he was prepared to charge these bills to the public in the first place shows he is not fit for office."

From January to April this year the deputy mayor has had 13 dinners and three lunches paid for by international companies on both sides of the Atlantic - part of his remit to promote London on the world stage.

He came under fire from Bexley borough residents in May last year for charging thousands of pounds to council coffers for a 'fact-finding' trip to the USA just weeks before he joined the GLA.

A GLA investigation found that there were items on bills for a corporate credit card that were not related to the authority's business, in breach of regulations.

Mayor Boris Johnson said: "Openness, transparency and taxpayer value are at the heart of my administration. I take very seriously indeed any behaviour that could potentially raise questions about that firm commitment.

"Although Ian repaid the GLA as soon as the credit card statement was received, he should not have used it in this capacity and so appropriate action has been taken."

martin.sawden@archant.co.uk

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