Boris aide resigns after admitting lunch ‘stealing’

By Alex Stevenson

A 'light-hearted' comment that "you have to steal" when entering high street chains has cost a mayoral aide his job.

Tom Campbell, the cultural strategy manager for Boris Johnson, resigned after he revealed his "rule" to always steal whenever entering chain stores or places to eat lunch.

Promoting his new book, Mr Campbell told the Evening Standard newspaper that he wanted to undermine the profits of the high street retailers, which he blamed for "strangling" London's creativity.

'I have a rule. If I ever go into a chain store for lunch, I always have to steal something," he explained.

"It's a little team rule, so they don't make a profit out of me. That's how I justify going into the chains. If you go into a chain you have to steal."

Mr Campbell went on to explain that he would like to see Tesco Metros banned. Nando's would be "burned" while Pret a Mangers "would all be wiped out".

With these actions not within the remit of City Hall, he has contented himself with stealing small products like "the pudding or the soup or something".

The 39-year-old explained he was able to get away with the thefts because he was middle-aged.

"When you're like 40, they don't grab you or anything. They just say, 'sir, I think you've made a mistake', or, 'you don't seem to have paid for this'," he added.

Mr Campbell claimed afterwards that his comments had been misinterpreted. The words were "intended in a light-hearted and playful manner", a Greater London Authority spokesman claimed.

"He recognises that – however intended – most readers could understandably suspect that he was admitting to shoplifting," the spokesman said.

"He acknowledges that this is patently unacceptable for someone who is employed by a public body paid for by taxpayers' money. The GLA have accepted his resignation."