Boris Johnson In £250K Mayor
Jan 31 2008 By James Lyons
BUMBLING Boris Johnson left the Tories facing more embarrassment last night after revelations he failed to tell Parliament about donations of nearly £250,000.
City fat cats and property tycoons are bankrolling his campaign to become mayor of London.
But there is no mention of the cash in the register of MPs’ interests.
Labour MPs have called in Commons standards commissioner John Lyon to investigate.
The Tories are already reeling from the Derek Conway scandal. He announced he will quit as an MP yesterday after it was revealed he paid £260,000 to his wife and two sons from taxpayer-funded allowances.
Last night, Tory leader David Cameron was under attack for allowing Johnson – who had to resign from the party’s front bench over an affair – to be the party’s London mayoral candidate.
Backersmade 16 donations totalling £234,000 to Johnson’s campaign between September and the middle of last month. The gifts have been logged with the Electoral Commission.
But Commons rules state MPs must declare cash they’re given in the register of interests within 28 days.
Karen Buck, Labour MP for Regent’s Park and Kensington, said Johnson’s failure to register the money was the “latest in a long line” of reasons he should not run London.
She added: “It would seem to me to be the right thing to make absolutely clear and transparent what money he is collecting and who he has collected it from.”
Johnson, who became a household name through his appearances on TV show Have I Got News for You, represents Henley, in Oxfordshire.
But since becoming Tory candidate for mayor, he has asked more than 100 parliamentary questions about London.
Fellow Labour MP John Mann, one of those who reported Johnson to the watchdog, said his failure to register was part of the Tory “gentlemen’s club” mentality.
Mann said: “It does not seem to be important to them. We can all make mistakes in terms of registering. That is not what this is about.”
Johnson’s spokeswoman claimed he had received guidance from the standards commissioner that campaign donations do not have to be entered in the register.
She admitted Labour MPs “may have a point” but said they “should be having a pop at the system, not us”.
However, Tories have regularly accused Labour MPs of failing to declare money and other gifts in the register.
Senior Tory Chris Grayling led attacks on Peter Hain. He quit as work and pensions secretary after Grayling called for an inquiry into the failure to declare £100,000 from his campaign to be come deputy Labour leader in the register.
Grayling said: “Politicians are expected to obey certain rules.”