Anti Boris group’s legal threat

Elec­tion win could spark court chal­lenge over may­oral role

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­

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.”

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