Mayor of London Boris Johnson will fight to hold onto his City Hall office in May, but a look through his inbox shows the job is not all about high-powered politics in one of the world’s largest cities.
Requests to join Army paratroopers on a skydive and to pen his favourite recipe have landed in Johnson’s inbox since he became mayor of London. Johnson has also been asked about “Boris bikes” for district nurses, while a survivor of the July 7 terrorist attacks got in touch wanting to be involved at the Olympic Games.
The mayor also receives strong criticism from some and fan mail from others, with one writer enjoying Johnson’s “straight-to-the-point and believable attitude” and concluding “hopefully (we) will see you some day at No 10”.
A Freedom of Information request for copies of emails sent to and from Johnson’s official City Hall account reveal how the mayor’s office takes an interest in the minutiae of public services across London.
The mayor said London Underground was “unlikely” to sanction a request for accredited buskers to sell their CDs and other merchandise in Tube stations on September 10 last year.
However, Johnson was more receptive to the idea of extra docking stations for his bicycle-hire scheme being installed in locations convenient for district nurses in Islington.
The emails show how Johnson has split public opinion since becoming mayor in May 2008.
In September of that year, a supporter based in Northern Ireland told Johnson: “Of late I have come to admire your straight-to- the-point and believable attitude that you put across with the greatest of ease and in such a unique and fun fashion…
“I… can only dream of someone somewhere entering into local politics here with the Boris attitude and help make a difference.
“I look forward to seeing you go from strength to strength, and hopefully will see you some day at No 10 and we will then finally have a PM that is worth his salt.”
But others were not so effusive in their praise of Johnson, with one critic writing: “Dear Boris, please resign. You (are) clever and funny and that, but to be honest, it ain’t enough. You are a bad Mayor and should leave quickly…
“All the best in your new job (so long as it doesn’t involve power or the UK).”
A number of Johnson’s replies reveal how hectic a schedule he keeps. The phrase “I am alas snowed under, and mustn’t take anything else on at the moment” crops up in a number of his responses.
Johnson replied to a questionnaire about London and his role by saying the task was “very, very difficult” but “easily the best job I have ever had”.