Will Stephen Greenhalgh Become Boris' Deputy Mayor?

Labour attack "muddle" over H&F Council Leader's appointment

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There have been reports today that Hammersmith and Fulham Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh has been appointed London's deputy mayor for policing by newly elected mayor Boris Johnson.

According to the reports, Mr Greenhalgh will run the Office for Crime and Policing.

However, the Mayor's Office has said his role was "not a confirmed appointment yet" after London Labour Assembly Member Val Shawcross responded, saying the appointment breached the Local Government Act 1989 which states that a person is disqualified from taking a local authority post if they already have one.

Mr Greenhalgh announced in December 2011 that he intended to step down at the end of May this year, and he was expcting to remain council leader May 30 when the result of a leadership election will be known.

On Wednesday afternoon, City Hall confirmed that Mr Johnson still intended to appoint Mr Greenhalgh, but the London Assembly confirmed that he could not do both jobs at the same time.

Ms Shawcross told the BBC: "This is typical Boris Johnson administration chaos and confusion. It's a rule widely known and understood by everyone in the whole of the public service, particularly local government, apart from, it seems, Boris Johnson."

Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter joined the attack saying:
" "Boris is continuing in the same shambolic vein as he was before and it is absurd he is getting himself in such a muddle over something as serious as policing."

Mr Greenhalgh is now said to be considering his options.

He surprised residents of Hammersmith and Fulham when he announced he would be standing down after five years as Council Leader.

At the time he said he would continue in his role as Councillor for Fulham Town ward and take on a new role as "Champion" for the deprived White City estate, helping to pioneer plans for what is being called a Neighbourhood Budget for the White City Opportunity Area.

He said: " I am keen to work with Whitehall and the town hall to develop a new approach to public spending at a neighbourhood level while continuing to serve the residents of Town Ward where I both live and work.

" I do not think the people of White City are getting value for money out of that £70 million, nor do I think are wider taxpayers. I want to focus that money on getting much better outcomes for people living there and ensuring that the neighbourhood is fully involved in how that money is spent."

Local residents are now wondering if they have been told the whole story, and how much time Mr Greenhalgh would have for his role as "champion" if reports of his new appointment are true. On our HammersmithToday forum, Karen Hartnell comments: " So now we know the full story. It wasn't that he was going to be a 'White City Champion' but that he was positioning himself to be a candidate for Mayor of London when Boris decides he wants to try to be Prime Minister.

" In the rush to take up the Deputy Mayor job he seems to have totally forgotten that he still had responsibilities in this borough. "


May 9, 2012