Deputy mayor forced to quit

The deputy mayor of London, Ray Lewis, has quit over allegations of financial irregularities in his past.

The former vicar has quit after just two months in the post under newly-elected mayor Boris Johnson because of accusations arising from a number of sources about possible misconduct during the 1990s.

Mr Lewis worked within the Church of England in east London until 1999, when he was placed on the Lambeth list – a register of people barred from taking a job within the Church – until 2005.

He also headed a youth academy scheme five years ago and denies the allegations.

However, today he was forced to step down from his role under Mr Johnson, who has been fully supportive in public but has also been prompted to launch an independent inquiry.

“I cannot allow the things going on around me to obscure the important business of this very important mayoralty and for that reason I must step down with immediate effect,” Mr Lewis said.

“London faces enormous challenges and I believed in all my heart that I was best placed to do that, but it’s important to get on with the business of this mayoralty without this business hanging over Boris’ head.

“Yet today again we learn of another murder and yet so much time and attention’s been given over to something that may or may not have happened ten to 12 years ago, and of course you know that I flatly deny it.”