London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s race advisor Lee Jasper has been suspended following a row over claims of alleged funding irregularities at community projects.
Jasper, who advises on equality and policing, has vowed that he would clear his name and today asked the Mayor to refer all allegations made against him by the Evening Standard to the police immediately for thorough investigation.
Any Greater London Authority member subject to a police enquiry is suspended and Jasper will remain suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation.
Jasper said: ‘I am being prevented from clearing my name, black organisations across London are being weakened by a systematic campaign in the Evening Standard from seeking funds, and a deliberate attempt is being made to divert attention from the real issues confronting London at the Mayoral election.’
Ken Livingstone said in a statement that he wished to ‘make it completely clear that the police made no approach to me to refer these allegations’. He said he believed the investigation would exonerate Jasper.
He said: ‘We are seeing an attempt at a trial by the media with the London Assembly not merely refusing to scrutinise but also preventing Lee Jasper answering these allegations even when he volunteers to do so and a police investigation will put a stop to this disgraceful political charade.'
It follows the news that the London Development Agency (LDA), which has been caught up in the storm that it had offered grants to organisations which did little in return, will fast track the introduction of a new monitoring regime in order to better mitigate any risk that may affect its investments.
The LDA has had a £3.2bn investment budget since 2000.