First Published: Friday 09 May 2008, 18:52
The Labour group on the London Assembly have accused Mayor Boris Johnson of organising "a Tory witch-hunt to attack the previous administration".
The accusation comes in a letter from Labour's John Biggs in which Mr Biggs says he and his colleagues "welcome any appropriate scrutiny into the allegations of mismanagement and corruption at the London Development Agency, we have serious concerns about the validity of the “audit panel” you set up this week."
Yesterday the Mayor announced that a 'forensic' audit team headed by Patience Wheatcroft will investigate the use of taxpayer's money at the LDA and by the Greater London Authority.
The Labour group challenges the Mayor to explain: "Why did you not make the political affiliations of your panel members clear to the public in your official press release?"
The letter also asks Mayor Johnson to set out "How much are your Conservative friends and colleagues being paid from taxpayers’ money to dig dirt on Ken Livingstone" and questions whether "this an appropriate use of public funds?"
According to the Mayor's press release the panel includes "Andrew Gordon, Head of Investigations within the Forensic Services group of PricewaterhouseCoopers, who will act as Independent Expert Advisor to the Panel."
Mr Biggs has asked the Mayor to clarify if Mr Gordon is acting in a personal capacity and "If PWC are acting, were they appointed by competitive tender? If not, why not? Is there a risk of abuse of public money in this exercise?"
The letter also accuses Mr Johnson of reneging on promises to Londoners. Mr Biggs writes : "You said in your manifesto “all appointments should be based on merit, and not on personal patronage”. In your first week as Mayor you have reneged on a key plank of your election platform. Londoners will be entitled to ask who is really running this administration, the Mayor of London or Conservative Party HQ."