Tuesday, August 19, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Boris's First Deputy To Resign

Having enjoyed a huge PR success (and intensely annoyed Downing Street in the process) yesterday with the announcement of an Olympic parade, Boris Johnson is about to make a move which on the face of it will be seen as a setback, but in reality will demonstrate that he is really getting to grips with his job.

In about an hour's time Boris will formally announce that the First Deputy Mayor Tim Parker is to step down from his job and also as chairman of Transport for London. Boris will now chair TfL himself. Parker will not be replaced as First Deputy Mayor. I am told that there has been no falling out and that the decision is mutual.

Tim Parker is a protege of Francis Maude and was brought in to "help" Boris by the transition team headed by Nicholas Boles. The subtle impression given was that he there to stop Boris being Boris and be the day to day business manager of the adminsistration. My reading of his formal departure (although he will continue as an adviser) is that this is a crucial decision, and means that Boris is putting his stamp on his own administration. TfL is crucial to this, as he has now (finally) come to understand.

Boris's next move should be to fire Peter Hendy, the chief executive of TfL. Hendy has made a convincing show so far of appearing to carry out Boris's wishes, but the reality is very different. He has been running his own show, in his own way and resents any "interference" from the Mayor's office. He must go, and sooner or later Boris will come to understand this.

No doubt Boris will take some media flack today for losing a third senior figure in his team after less than four months, but in my experience, if you decide someone is not working out it is better to grasp the nettle sooner rather than later. It's a good thing that he has not let it drag on. In May Tim Parker told The Times: "“You have to try to understand what you have to do in the first 100 days or so if you possibly can. If there are big changes you want to make, you have to try and get on with them.” Indeed so.

I guess one big advantage for Boris in this move is that he can finally cock a snook at those who believe his adminstration is being run from CCHQ. With the departure of James McGrath, then Nicholas Boles and now Francis Maude's friend Tim Parker, there are few CCHQ appointees left. Boris can now truly be his own man.

UPDATE: London Says has the full statement HERE.

39 comments:

tapestry said...

Any associate of pornographer Frances Maude should be put into quarantine for a decade as it is. How come he's the only Tory that never gets any sleeze coverage, when he's known to be associated with such things? It was alleged recently that he is part of Common Purpose.

If Boris is up against that lot, it's take him years let alone 100 days to dig out the vipers from the Mayoral nest.

Beyond New Labour said...

"Parker will not be replaced as First Deputy Mayor"

Is that because the position is made up?

Roger Thornhill said...

Good luck to Boris. Peter "bendy" Hendy, killer of the Routemaster costs us well over £300k pa if I recall correctly.

Boris has a task on his hands - TfL is a monster with at least twice as many staff in HQ than is really needed. It is a monopoly, and monopolies need careful scrutiny.

p.s. I wonder if Peter drives a Mercedes, anyone?

Roy Keane said...

I don't know how Boris has the patience to deal with those nit-picking, pedantic wet blankets he has to endure for the duration of Mayor's Question Time. Their droning convoluted, self-important, irrelevant, points should have got them drummed out of office. Ken more or less ignored the Assembly and I think Boris should too.

Letters From A Tory said...

Hmmm. This can be interpreted in all kinds of different ways. If Boris had made clear at the beginning who was temporary and who was not, I'd be more forgiving if he claimed that this move was always on the cards.

Andy said...

Why does this post sound as if it has been dictated to you? No offence, but I hardly believe that you have in depth knowledge of TFL and its leadership, so it seems a touch rum to say

"He has been running his own show, in his own way and resents any "interference" from the Mayor's office. He must go, and sooner or later Boris will come to understand this"

unless you are parroting a line you have been given...

Iain Dale said...

Andy, are you a regular reader of this blog? If so, you would know I have been quite critical of Boris in the past. It's also not the first time I have called for Hendy to be sacked. I can assure you nothing in this post was dictated by anyone. I got to learn of what was about to happen, gave my interpretation and suggested Hendy should go too. But I am not holding my breath on that one!

Anonymous said...

I suppose we'll find out the truth in the Sunday papers.

Anonymous said...

Grasp the mettle surely Iain?!

Garbo said...

Iain, surely the biggest worry is not Boris being associated with CCHQ but with CCHQ being associated with Boris?

After all, someone has pay for Crossrail, metronet and Crossrail - the tax payer. A Tory Mayor raising taxes just before a general election doesn't look good. The further the Tories can keep Boris away from CCHQ the better for them.

Of course the best way to do this is to keep up the line Boris is proving he is independent of the Tories. Nice spin.

Anonymous said...

Grasp the mettle surely Iain?!

Auntie Flo' said...

I'm not surprised. Well done, Boris!

Garbo said...

After all, someone has pay for Crossrail, metronet and Crossrail (I meant London 2012!)...

Anna said...

First timer on your blog....great blog! Thanks!

neil craig said...

Iain is quite right about getting the reforms you want out of the way in the first 100 days. It is a good rule for any politician since otherwise they can keep grinding you down.

Machavelli said something similar though when he was talking about blood on the carpet he meant blood on the carpet.

trevorsden said...

You are attracting a number of dipsticks to your threads Mr Dale.

First 'Kincora' smears and now 'Maude is a pornographer'. Maud is (was?) chairman of an investment trust which at some time had some stake in a now bankrupt 'adult entertainment company'.

Big deal tapestry - go get a life.

Interestingly we have just seen Mr Dale complain about a gay play for its lack of sex. There is no shortage of crude sex bad language and violence being beamed into our living rooms by amongst others the BBC.

Point your blunderbuss in the right direction Mr Tapestry - or go somewhere else to peddle your rubbish.

'Common Purpose' ah, the new Bildeberg

Rich Johnston said...

"cock a snook"

What?

Newmania said...

If so, you would know I have been quite critical of Boris in the past.
I am a regular reader of this blog and I can attest to the fact that Iain Dale has been been excessively critical of Boris on numerous occassions to the point where perfectly reasonable people have wondered what on earth he has against Boris .
Anyhoo...I`d like to know where you get this information about Hendy going behind the Mayor`s back Iain , on what do you base that statement?Prithee tell ?

Anonymous said...

It is depressing that Labour bloggers are getting away with saying City Hall is dripping in corruption (which patently there is no question of in this case) while the crimes of Livingstone have been washed over with the sponge of oblivion.

Roger Thornhill said...

"the sponge of oblivion"

That's no way to talk about Lee Jasper.

Newmania said...

"the sponge of oblivion" is usually used to moisten the crack of doom.

When all are aligned with the the flannel of eternity then shall the old ones arise to reclaim the bubble bath of omnipotence....contd.pg`.94

Anonymous said...

We should remember that the GLA was an institution design by Livingstone so he and the five members of Socialist Action could run London with an iron rod (and make sure the public had no idea what was going on).

It's clear that 100-odd days in, Boris has found that the GLA and TfL are not normal institutions and cannot be run like conventional government.

I think we should be prepared for some big shake-ups at TfL. Hendy might go - though he desperate to keep his job.

Also keep an eye on the C-charge. Livingstone signed-up for a new contract and new c-charge system with IBM in 2006 (and kept it secret of course) which was due in Nov 2009.

We might see radical changes to any new C-Charge system (perhaps shortened running hours 7-10/4-7) and a smaller zone. It's right that Boris should be the front man for this.

Don't forget that the admin costs of the C-charge and Oyster card were sky-high and Oyster card contract has already been pulled (with no word from Livingstone who created these chaotic messes).

Also the results of the New London bus competition will be announced in October. Standby for some serious action on commissioning a new bus design.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Hendy work from home ? Near his coastal home !

Adam said...

So losing two of your deputy Mayors just one month after they have been hired shows that you 'are getting to grip' with your job. A first class piece of spin Iain.

I wonder why they gave you the 'exclusive'.

Johnny Norfolk said...

I think first and formost people should remember Boris is his own man. He will do things as he sees them, and thats what people voted for. Anyone making any judgements of Boris, peformance before 2 years is up is a fool.

Adam said...

"Anyone making any judgements of Boris, peformance before 2 years is up is a fool."

I assume you will be holding your fire on Gordon Brown until this time next year then?

london man said...

I'm sorry but you sound like a hysterical, excitable teenager rather than your normal more considered and thoughtful self. His "administration," like him, is chaotic. He lacks interest in the job and the political skills necessary to succeed at it.

What's more scary than Tim Parker becoming the third high profile member of his team to leave in just over 100 days in total? Boris Johnson attempting to "get to grips" with TfL.

Or to put it another way, would someone else who was Mayor be keen to put Mr. Johnson in charge of TfL? You only have to ask the question to answer it.

I am no fan of Michael Portillo but I'm afraid he was right about this one.

judith said...

Why should we hold fire on criticising Brown? He's been a heartbeat away from the top job in Govt for 10yrs, having a massive influence on how things were done, he's been PM for a year without being judged by an internal or external election, and you only have to look at his face to see that he is a broken man.

Bullingdon Bumbuster said...

BBC London are blaming a hissy bitch slapfest between Parker and Sir Simon Milton over the title "Head of Policy"......

prj45 said...

"Getting to grips with the job".

Brilliant.

Harriet Hamster said...

Kit Malthouse should be next to go he has no experience in crime or policing he's a chartered accountant

Ian Blair needs experience and support not a "bean counter" he needs a deputy mayor with ideas and Malthouse does not seem to have manynew ideas and does not want to listen to public opinion so indeed another lost cause

ac256 said...

Glad to see this is actually better than was being spun in the papers. Sounds like a good decision, much like the Olympic Parade.

Any more inside track on the Downing Street reaction- sounds fun =)

ex-Boris supporter said...

What a load of shite, Iain. And after you had the guts to pint outr the hypocrisy of him firing James McGrath for making a gaffe, which the pompous one had self-importantly reserved the right to do so to himself. Sad. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

Boris is a clueless fuckwit.

Anonymous said...

Johnson is a useless Tory twat. Why isn't Steve Norris Mayor? At least he knows what he is doing.

ex-boris said...

"can be his own man" What a joke. Iain, you've been had by the clown.

Anonymous said...

"My reading of his formal departure ...means that Boris is putting his stamp on his own administration."

Boris was on tv news last night. I'm sure I heard him say this change was caused by it being discovered that, for democratic reasons, Boris was obliged to chair this committee himself. Was he lying?

CFer said...

Yes, he was lying. The Mayor may chair TFL but doesn't have to by law.

I really regret voting for him in the primary and in May now. Kit Malthouse and Simon Milton and Steve Norris are doing all the work. Why can't one of them do it instead of someone who isn't really all that interested?

Anonymous said...

CFer

Thanks for clarifying that. As I understand it, the tory leadership were/are trying to arrange things so that Pasha Johnson is allowed to do as little as possible.