Anti Boris group’s legal threat
Election win could spark court challenge over mayoral role
CAMPAIGNERS calling for Boris Johnson to be sacked as London Mayor are to file a legal challenge in the High Court if he is elected into parliament.
The activists have launched an online petition arguing that Mr Johnson cannot legally become an MP while heading the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).
The MOPAC position, which London mayors now automatically assume, is the capital’s equivalent of a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elsewhere in England and Wales, as stated on the Greater London Authority (GLA) website. Under section 67 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (PRSRA), a person becomes disqualified from being a PCC upon being elected into the House of Commons. However, this rule does not apply for the head of the MOPAC.
The petitioners believe this is an anomaly that needs challenging and have sought legal advice from experts at Kings View Chambers, in King’s Cross, London.
Joint head of chambers Stephen McCaffrey said: “If the principle is right that someone holding the office of Police and Crime Commissioner is disqualified from holding the office of MP, why is there no such similar provision for the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime? The law as it currently stands is entirely arbitrary and in my view inconsistent.”
He added: “Whilst ultimately it is a matter for the people and their representatives whether they want this anomaly to remain, there is a proper basis for this statutory inconsistency to be reviewed in the High Court or beyond.”
If a judge agrees with petitioners, this could be used to put pressure on parliament to change existing legislation.
Mr McCaffrey, who said his firm would represent the petitioners in court if asked, said he believed it was “highly likely” the High Court would agree with the campaigners’ position.
The petition had gathered 470 signatures by 10am on Thursday.
It is being supported by the organisations Occupy Democracy, The People’s Assembly, People Before Profit, Climate Revolution, Cabbies Against Boris, Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry and Justice Now – a website headed by independent rival election candidate Michael Doherty. The petitioners have been calling for Mr Johnson to either stand down as London mayor or withdraw his application as a parliamentary candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip.
Dave Davies, one of the organisers of the #sackboris campaign, said: “Boris Johnson has had a clear and unfair improper advantage in his election campaign because he is mayor of London.
“A High Court ruling will expose his disregard for the principal of the disqualification rules and it is hoped that action would then be taken so that he is no longer able to hold public office as an MP or mayor at the same time.”