Pseudo facts? New London Assembly gets off to a rocky start

City Hall: Mayor Boris faces his friends and enemies
City Hall: Mayor Boris faces his friends and enemies
Ian Dunt By

The new London Assembly has kicked off in much the same way as the last one, with bad-tempered exchanges and angry attacks on Boris Johnson.

The first mayoral question time of the new term saw the chair intervene to establish "appropriate terminology" after Green member Jenny Jones told the mayor: "Endlessly peddling pseudo facts doesn't make them true."

When Assembly members complained of the chair's intervention, she told them: "I'm here to make sure our language and behaviour are in keeping with good practice."

The London Assembly then spent some time debating what constituted a personal attack.

Later the chair was forced to intervene again when Conservative member Andrew Boff made allegations about the funding of political groups due to concerns about legal action.

Despite repeated interruptions from Mr Boff, chairman Jennette Arnold said: "If I hear anything I hear to be incorrect and places this authority at risk of legal challenge I can intervene.

"I am intervening on that behalf to say to you to say you have no evidence to suggest there has been any exchange of cash."

Eyebrows were also raised when the mayor mocked Green Assembly member Darren Johnson for taking a car and not using a bicycle during the election campaign.

The Green Assembly member pointed out to the mayor he had been drinking on the occasion in question before Ms Jones quickly tried to moved the debate on.

The Assembly has moved decidedly leftwards since it last met at the end of Boris' first term.

There are now 12 Labour Assembly members, nine Conservatives, two Liberal Democrats and two Green party members on the panel.

While that will not be enough for a two-third majority to block Boris' Budget, Labour and Green members together will command a majority on the assembly and can make Boris' life more difficult than it was during his first term.


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