Livingstone responds to allegations of cronyism

The London Mayor Ken Livingstone has stood by his record in the face of potentially damaging investigations from print and broadcast journalists over the last few weeks.

Speaking on BBC’s Today programme, he told James Naughtie that his staff were free to help his election campaign “provided they do so in their own time” and without using public resources.

In a year-long investigations for Channel 4’s Dispatches broadcast this week, New Statesman political editor Martin Bright alleged that Livingstone’s staff had not resigned during his last election campaign in 2005, as is required under electoral rules.

Speaking of Bright’s investigation, he said: “What I find remarkable with Dispatches…is that have a team of people working for year and this is all that they could come up with.”

The mayor this week called the programme a hatchet job.

Responding to claims made first by the Evening Standard, in a series of reports by Andrew Gilligan, that money paid to businesses and voluntary groups from the London Development Agency had gone missing and that many projects went out of business, he said: “In this city one in ten businesses go out of business. We are funding organisations which the market won’t support…A lot of them fail.”

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