London party

London City Hall must tighten regulations and investigate Boris Johnson findings

London City Hall’s code of conduct is to be strengthened, a review has found, following an investigation into Boris Johnson’s links to an American businesswoman while mayor.

Jennifer Arcuri’s ties to Mr Johnson have come under public scrutiny following allegations that she received favorable treatment for her business ventures during her eight years as mayor.

The former London mayor avoided a criminal investigation after the Independent Office for Police Conduct found no evidence Mr Johnson influenced the payment of thousands of pounds of public money to the US entrepreneur Ms. Arcuri, or secured his participation in overseas business trips he led.

American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri gives evidence via video link to the London assembly’s UK assembly oversight committee, in the London City Hall Chamber, about her role in trade missions when Boris Johnson was Mayor of London (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Greater London Authority (GLA), which was not legally allowed to investigate whether the code of conduct had been breached, has now recommended that its regulations be strengthened.

In a report released on Tuesday, a cross-party group of Assembly Members (AMs) recommended that the code be updated to ensure any mayor or assembly member is clear that they must declare non-pecuniary interests such as personal relationships with individuals. .

The GLA Oversight Committee also recommended that the city’s advocacy firm, London and Partners (L&P), do more to publicize its services and sponsorship money to ensure equal opportunities for all, not just to those connected with it.

Former GLA Oversight Committee Chair Caroline Pidgeon AM said: ‘The circumstances surrounding this investigation were uncomfortable for many committee members and we remain concerned about the challenge we faced in accessing relevant information. .

“L&P promotes London to the world. It receives significant public funds and the public expects its money to be spent.

“Although the IOPC’s investigation into the allegations against Boris Johnson found no evidence of a criminal offence, it concluded that there was evidence that Boris Johnson was in an intimate relationship with Jennifer Arcuri during part of the relevant period.

“If he was in such a relationship, not declaring this as a conflict of interest could have been a violation of the broader Nolan Principles, the ethical standards to which those working in the public sector are expected to adhere.

“We found the evidence we heard from Jennifer Arcuri to be both candid and honest.”

Last year, Ms Arcuri agreed to be interviewed by the committee and to share her diary with the inquiry.

Lib Dem AM Ms Pidgeon added that the GLA’s code of conduct “has potential shortcomings and areas that need strengthening”, and said there was a need for an annual review of the code of conduct.

She also acknowledged that “significant changes have been made” since 2015 in the decision-making process for people who go on trade missions.

Allen Simpson, Managing Director of Strategy and Governance at L&P, said: “We are delighted that the report endorses London & Partners’ quality of work and governance standards so strongly.

“The committee’s recommendations are very helpful and we will be looking at how best to implement them.