London Mayor Boris Johnson railed at London Assembly members as “great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies” for choosing to skip the usual two-hour grilling of the Mayor over his proposed London budget.
LibDem, Labour and Green members chose to skip staight to debating amendments in an attempt to add amend the Budget, as the Mayor’s deputy had not arrived on time, giving other parties the hope they might be able to attain a majority in later voting.
London Fire Authority chief James Cleverly told LondonlovesBusiness.com that Conservative Assembly members tried to vote to question the Mayor but opposition members wanted to capitalise on the temporary absence of Deputy Mayor Victoria Borwick to win a majority in amendments to change the Mayor’s budget.
“Conservatives voted against that motion. The Left thought they could rush through a vote while one member was out of the chamber. It showed opportunism over principle.
“I’m going to use my unexpectedly spare two hours to visit a fire station,” said Cleverly.
Deputy Mayor for Business Kit Malthouse said on Twitter after the Mayor was sent away from the London Assembly: “Labour & partners try student politics to amend mayors budget. Playing games with billions of your money. Now no proper scrutiny. Foolish.”
Assembly members have gone on to debate for Monday the Mayor’s proposed budget, with Tory AM Andrew Boff criticising members for “not doing their jobs” and saying they should hand back their salaries.
LibDem AM Stephen Knight defended the decision to skip grilling the Mayor, saying his constituents “would want me to do everything in my power to defend frontline services in the capital”.
A Labour Group spokesman told LondonlovesBusiness.com by moving straight to the vote, Labour Assembly members hoped to use Borwick’s absence to win a two thirds majority to pass a technical amendment to freeze the Mayor’s share of council tax rather than cutting it to free up more funding to keep the fire stations open.
“Borwick’s lateness raises questions about how well organised the Mayor’s team were if they can’t even get their members to the chamber for the most important vote of the year to vote on the Mayor’s budget”, he added.
In another dose of bad news for Labour, cycling and fire amendments to the Mayor’s budget failed to pass with the required 2/3 majority.
All amendments to the Mayor’s budget have fallen, this means the Mayor’s 2013/14 budget will pass.
— CityHallLabour (@CityHallLabour) February 25, 2013
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