London mayor and Daily Telegraph columnist Boris Johnson has been accused of breaching rules aimed at preventing ‘cronyism’ by trying to install former Evening Standard editor Veronica Wadley as head of the Arts Council in London.
Arts Council chairwoman Liz Forgan has revealed in a letter to the Department of Culture Media and Sport that Wadley was not shortlisted for the job because she was deemed as not “meeting the required standard”.
She says in her letter, quoted in today’s Times, that she was under the impression that Johnson would see the three shortlsited candidates: “I was therefore shocked to be told that the Mayor was only seeing two of the appointable candidates plus Veronica”.
Despite the fact Wadley was not initially shortlisted, Johnson recommended that she get the job.
The Independent on Sunday’s media diary writer reported this weekend: “I’m told she [Wadley] has just landed a senior arts-related post that is awaiting Government approval.”
But The Times reports today that Wadley’s appointment to the job, which carries a salary of £7,000 a year, has been blocked by the Government under the Nolan rules which prevent political interference in certain public appointments.
When Wadley was editor of the Evening Standard the paper backed Johnson’s campaign to be elected mayor of London.