Boris’ deputy mayor controversy erupts

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, has defended the record of his deputy mayor at a press conference.

He will, however, launch an independent inquiry.

At the press conference it became clear there are a plethora of different allegations against him.

“The reason we’re holding this press conference is because you [the media] have been piling in asking all sorts of questions about his past,” Mr Johnson said.

Mr Lewis has called the accusations a ‘smear campaign’ but they have come from several different sources.

Some allegations concern Ray Lewis’s time a vicar. He was allegedly entrusted with money by a parishioner who later complained about what happened.

From 1999, two years after he left the vicarage, he was put on the Lambeth list, a register of people barred from taking a job in the Church of England.

“The Church does not usually tell us things like this without checking its fact,” a journalist said.

Mr Lewis was asked why he left the prison service. Mr Lewis said he left the prison service to set up his charity.

Newham council ceased to fund Mr Lewis’ academy, journalists said. Asked why, Mr Lewis said that was untrue.

Mr Lewis totally rejected claims of an “abusive regime” within his academy.

The allegations concern Ray Lewis’ past, and revolve around sexual and financial misconduct.

Aides to Mr Johnson say Mr Lewis would keep his position however.

Mr Lewis is important to the mayor because he is at the centre of Mr Johnson’s efforts to reduce street crime.

The controversy will be extremely uncomfortable for other reasons too. Mr Johnson has heaped considerable praise on his deputy as a paradigm example of how to turn around the lives of disadvantaged urban communities.

Mr Lewis’ solution is a military-style boxing club where young boys could learn discipline.

The development follows several weeks of bad headlines for the mayor. His deputy chief of staff James McGrath was forced to resign weeks ago for saying Caribbean people should go home if they were unhappy with Mr Johnson’s election.

The new mayor also found himself in trouble for being unable to answer questions on what he would replace the soon-to-be-scrapped ‘bendy buses’ with on certain routes.

But today’s announcement is by far the most damaging, primarily because of the echoes it has of Lee Japser, former mayor Ken Livingstone’s equality advisor. Mr Livingstone had to launch a similar inquiry after various sexual and financial allegations were brought under the spotlight.