Boris’s controversy-ridden administration was today dealt another blow as the London Assembly voted unanimously to investigate his appointments of staff and consultants at City Hall.

The investigation will be carried out by the Business Management and Administration Committee, and they will be focusing on four questions:

  • How did Mayor Boris Johnson pick his senior City Hall policy advisors?
  • Were proper recruitment procedures followed?
  • Was the Mayor properly advised about the use of his powers of appointment?
  • What lessons can be learnt for future changes of administration at City Hall?

The full motion the Assembly passed was as follows:

That the Assembly notes the answers to the questions asked and the absence of one of our invitees. We instruct the Business Management and Administration Committee to look closely at the Mayor’s appointments of staff under S67 of the GLA Act (and his temporary use of consultants in advisory posts akin to S67 appointments) in order to understand how the appointments were made, whether they fully followed proper process, whether the Mayor was properly advised in the exercise of his powers and whether any lessons are to be learnt.

I’m particularly pleased to see the parenthesised part of the motion, which refers to his mysterious ‘transition team’, about which very little has been made public.

While we know how much public money each team member had been paid in the first month (only after that information was dragged out of the Mayor’s press office by determined journalists – and it hasn’t been updated since it was first published in early June), we still don’t have any idea what any of them did to earn their money. It will be very interesting to see if this investigation can confirm that these posts were necessary and were fairly appointed, rather than simply being a chance to give Boris’s campaign team a publicly funded bonus for getting him elected.

And of course it will be equally interesting to see the rest of the investigation’s conclusions too: for a man who rode to office on a wave of hysterical discontent whipped up by the Evening Standard apparently off the back of still unproven allegations against a single adviser to the previous Mayor, Boris’s administration really hasn’t got off to the transparent, accountable start he had repeatedly promised us.

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