Boris Johnson walks out of a House of Commons inquiry

Walking out in the middle of an answer to a question. Hmm… you don’t think Boris the experience of having his record and decisions closely cross-questioned has got him a bit rattled do you?

The BBC story has the details.

PS Courtesy of what I presume is an automated system, at the end of the BBC video clip of Boris Johnson it says “MORE LIKE THIS … Snow-crazed stoat ‘goes berserk'”

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This entry was posted in London.


  • The Select Committee is well behind the times and in this instance I actually have some sympathy for Boris.

    At the instigation of the Liberal Democrats here the London Assembly conducted a full investigation in to the debacle, including taking oral evidence from the Mayor, and then published a detailed report all within a month. You can see the report here –

    We couldn’t quite work out why the Transport Select Committee needed to look at it again.

    Louise Ellman and the other Labour members of the Transport Select Committee were making political capital out of this. I bet they wouldn’t have conducted an investigation had such disruption taken place in any other city in the UK.

    The Select Committee would be more useful in taking this government, and particularly Gordon Brown, to task for the mess it has got London’s transport in to with the Tube PPP deal.

    I think I can guess what Gwynweth Dunwoody would have done.

  • Tom,

    I agree with you entirely about Boris’ poor performance, his lack of detail and his not having a handle on the job. It’s just that in this particular instance the Transport Select Committee wasted a session to indulge in what I think was pretty cheap political point scoring. A detailed and comprehensive report has been done by a devolved body, Transport for London, and the Mayor, have agreed to act on the report’s recommendations – and checks will be made to ensure they do – so what purpose does the Select Committee’s inquiry actually serve?

    What would Graham Stringer have been saying today had a Select Committee come and tried to have a pop when he was leader of Manchester City Council? He would have been shouting about how people in Parliament know nothing about life on the ground etc, etc.

    Right that’s enough of me supporting the Mayor. Off to find something more sensible to beat up Boris with.

  • Matthew Huntbach 3rd Apr '09 - 10:12am

    To me this shows up the nonsensical nature of the directly elected executive mayor system. Someone elected to that post cannot be expected to have the detailed technical knowledge to take direct executive control of something like a transport system. A public election is simply not the best way of getting someone into a job which requires detailed technical knowledge.

    Elected members are laypeople and their job is to give a layperson’s input into the process, and to take final responsibility for its approval. So they need to ensure the right technical people are doing the details, and to respond when those technical people reach a position where there are options which require a customer input. Getting the balance right is crucial – the technicians need to be people who see it as their job to present options not to make the choices. The elected members need to know when it is best to let those with technical knowledge get on it with it, and when they need to lay down guidance. They need to be able to scrutinise the technicians, which includes getting advice from other independent technicians, if they feel the technicians have over-stepped their role by not presenting all reasonable options as a choice.

    It seems to me to be clear that the job of providing input, making choices, scrutinising the process, and accepting final responsibility must fall to a representative committee and not to a single person. Elections should be about choosing people who we can trust together would make the decisions we would make had we the time, ability and willingness to investigate thoroughly. They should not be about choosing who has the wackiest personality, which seems to be what mayoral elections come to.

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