According to the BBC, Lee Jasper has resigned.
It isn’t clear to me precisely why he has fallen on his sword. There was an article in the Telegraph, which indicates that it might be to do with this:
Ken Livingstone, the Labour mayor of London, faced fresh embarrassment when it emerged one of his senior aides sent intimate emails to a married women who runs projects receiving thousands of pounds in public money.
Emails surfaced suggesting a close relationship between Mr Jasper and Karen Chouhan, who helps run two community projects given grants from Mr Livingstone’s budget.
(You can read the emails yourself on the Telegraph website. Personally, I’m impressed and heartened that a man in his late 40s is still able to conjure up the romantic magic)
The groups concerned are the 1990 Trust and the Black Londoner’s Forum.
The 1990 Trust was responsible for the rubbishing of Trevor Phillips: in an operation planned at, and funded by, Ken Livingstone’s City Hall. It also sent out invitations to guests, on behalf of the Iranian government’s propaganda TV station: Press TV. It also supports the annual pro-Iranian “Al Quds Day” festivities in London.
We’ll update this post when we find out what is going on.
Here’s Lee Jasper’s resignation letter, and the Mayor’s response:
The racist nature of a relentless media campaign and the consequent effects on myself and family have placed an intolerable strain on all of us.
I have decided to put a stop to this by tendering my resignation.
I’d be very sympathetic to Lee Jasper if his only fault was a little bit of marital infidelity. That’s nobody’s business. What makes this a news story is that the person who he was courting was also running an organisation which was in recipient of large amounts of public money. It is simply disingenuous to attempt to deflect legitimate concerns about the misuse of public funds, as “racism”.
In fact, by painting this issue, falsely, as about racism – as opposed to cronyism – Lee Jasper is undoing years of patient work by serious anti-racist campaigners: to ensure that opposition to racism is treated as an important issue, and not a football for opportunist politicians.
The BBC reports:
On Wednesday Mr Jasper was due to face the London Assembly to answer questions about his involvement in community projects which received money from the London Development Agency.
As we used to say at school: Saved By The Bell!
I do wonder if this isn’t another attempt to duck accountability. The last time the London Assembly was preparing to question Lee Jasper, an unsuccessful attempt was made to kick the issue into touch until after the election, by calling in the police to investigate non-existent corruption complaints.
The Met weren’t playing that game.
So, now – on the eve of the Assembly appearance – Lee Jasper resigns.
My guess is that the plan is for Lee Jasper to make a triumphant return, the day after Ken Livingstone is returned to power. If that happens.