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Boris adviser faces 'rules breach' row

Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s senior planning adviser Simon Milton (pictured) has been accused of breaching local government employment rules.

Milton, currently still leader of Westminster City Council, was one of the first appointments announced by the new London Mayor last Tuesday (6 May), and has been hugely critical of tall buildings during his time at the borough.

Now opposition parties are calling for clarification of the appointment after it emerged that Milton would stand down as leader in June, but would stay on as a Conservative councillor, a move described by them as a ‘direct breach’ of the Widdecombe rules.

Under the Widdecombe rules certain senior civil servants roles are ‘politically restricted’ – barring candidates from standing for election, canvassing for a political party, or speaking to the public in favour of a political party.

Westminster’s Labour leader Paul Dimoldenberg said: ‘Milton should resign from Westminster City Council in order to comply with the Widdecombe rules.’

Leader of the London Assembly Labour Group Len Duvall said: ‘Boris Johnson has failed to clarify his planning adviser’s employment terms. What has he got to hide? He should clarify as soon as possible why Milton is exempt from the rules.’

The Liberal Democrats are also demanding that Johnson bring his recent appointments in front of Assembly at the earliest opportunity.

Lib Dem Assembly member Mike Tuffrey said: ‘All Boris’ new appointments should declare their interests; it’s important that he lets himself and his staff become accountable.’

Milton, who is also chairs the Local Government Association, was one of the most vocal objectors against former London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s preferences for higher densities as well as high-rises.
As the AJ went to press he was unavailable for comment.

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