We all know Boris has made his fair share of race-related gaffes over the years, and now I learn via Dave Hill that one of his aides has put his foot in his mouth. Must be a nice change for Boris to get to put out a news release apologising for someone else’s racially insensitive remark.

It is with great regret this evening that I have accepted the resignation of my political adviser, James McGrath. James has been a loyal, committed and highly professional colleague. I will always be grateful to him for his skills, advice and support in helping elect me as Mayor of London. Unfortunately, his remarks in a conversation with an Internet journalist, published this weekend, made it impossible for him to continue in that role. James is not a racist. I know that. He shares my passionate belief that racism is vile, repulsive and has no place in modern Britain. But his response to a silly and hostile suggestion put to him by Marc Wadsworth, allowed doubts to be raised about that commitment.

I wonder if Boris knows any of this has happened yet.

Update (also via Dave, whose reference to my “pithy sign-off” predates this addendum!): Iain Dale’s not impressed. I’m not so sure you can blame this sacking on Boris – I genuinely doubt after this week’s Rise and Olympics debacles that he really has much power in ‘his’ administration, so it seems likely it will have been someone else’s decision to give McGrath the boot. But who really knows?

Update (from Ben): Did you ever imagine that you’d experience Boris Johnson firing somebody else because of a gaffe? Whatever McGrath did or did not say, he’s been used to save Boris’s blushes, and, by God, it’s backfired.

Update (from Ben): “Cameron says James McGrath, the adviser who resigned, is not a racist. But he committed a “lapse of judgment”.”

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8 Responses to Like boss, like aide?

  1. Helen says:

    “I wonder if Boris knows any of this has happened yet”


  2. BenSix says:

    The dilemma for the administration, it seems to me, is that had McGrath stayed, Boris would have been accused of being soft on racism, and past comments (which are, incidentally, rather worse than this one) would have been reexamined.
    Still, the idea of Boris sacking somebody for a gaffe is just staggering.

  3. Wireman says:

    Telling comment on Iain Dale.

    “Boris says that his ex-employee wasn’t a racist but then goes on to explain why he had to be sacked for the sake of Boris’s image.”

    We know it. They know it.

  4. pastyface says:

    I’m sure Mr McGrath will be returning to his desk at CCO this morning.

    He was Francis Maude’s chief of staff for two years as well.

  5. BenSix says:

    Is anyone aware of whether Wadsworth took a recording of the incident? One can hardly condemn/apologise for McGrath without knowing what he actually said. I suspect that ‘Boris’ wasn’t entirely sure either.

  6. Tory Troll says:

    Yes there was a recording.

  7. BenSix says:

    Well, his and Wadsworth’s accounts don’t corroborate, so he will probably be accused of lying as well.

  8. Wireman says:

    Olympic memo: “I doubt it exists.”

    Rise Festival: “Are you sure?”

    McGrath: “He’s not a racist. He didn’t say a racist thing. He’s staying… What’s that David? Oh. He’s not staying.”

    The issue here is the same as it ever was.

    Who runs London?

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