Boris loses another deputy

Boris Johnson has lost a third senior member of his team today with the pre-emptive resignation of first transport minister Tim Parker.

Mr Parker had been due to take over the chairmanship of Transport for London in September but will no longer do so, it has been confirmed. Mr Johnson will instead keep the role for himself.

“Transport for London is responsible for a huge range of transport policies that impinge directly on the lives of Londoners and I was delighted when Tim Parker agreed to take charge of the board on my behalf,” Mr Johnson said.

“Over the last few weeks, however, it has become increasingly apparent to both of us that the nature of the decisions that need to be taken are highly political and there is no substitute for me, as the directly elected mayor, being in charge. There are limits, therefore, to what can be delegated.”

Mike Tuffrey, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at the London Assembly, responded: “To lose one advisor is unfortunate, to lose two is careless but to lose three in four months shows the wheels are coming off this new administration.”

It follows resignations from Ray Lewis, another deputy mayor, following allegations about his past and James McGrath, senior political strategist, for comments about immigrants of Caribbean origin.

City Hall is insisting Mr Parker’s move is not a resignation, despite his no longer being first deputy mayor.

“We have. decided to adjust the management structure and abolish that position,” Mr Parker explained in a statement.

“I look forward to advising Boris on an ongoing basis on transport.”

Mr Parker was one of the men drafted in by Tory high command to keep Mr Johnson ‘on-message’.

He completed the first stage of the Greater London Authority’s restructuring, Mr Johnson said, and would still be around to provide “continuing support and friendship” to the mayor.