London Mayor’s appointment diary

On Monday 23 October, the Evening Standard published a double-page spread based on documents I freed from the Mayor of London’s Office.

I made a Freedom of Information request for the Mayor’s appointment diary for the past financial year (March 2004-April 2005) and to Ken Livingstone‘s credit, I received 78 pages detailing the mayor’s meetings, lunches, celebrity networking, trips abroad and even a haircut and dentist appointment. I discovered the mayor’s favourite restaurant for meetings is Le Pont de la Tour. That may be trivial, but his favourite guest was Manny Lewis, the chief executive of the London Development Agency, which often gives some of its £400million budget towards funding Ken’s pet projects.

On the celebrity front, Ken attended a photo shoot with supermodel Caprice on 27 October, a fundraising dinner with Emma Thompson at English National Opera, had a phone chat with Bob Geldof and met with food guru Jamie Oliver and racing champion Sir Stirling Moss.

I also discovered that Ken met twice with Philip Anschutz, the American billionaire who wants to open a super casino in the Millennium Dome. Nine months later, what do we see but Ken giving his whole-hearted support for the Casino Advisory Panel to select the Dome as the nation’s first super casino.

Unfortunately, the Evening Standard has not placed the article on its electronic website, though you may request a copy from their office. Also, the Mayor’s Office has only provided a hard copy of the diary. If you are curious to see it for yourself then please contact the Mayor’s Office and ask for your own copy. Now that it is released it should be accessible to anyone, not just me.

Politicians’ appointment diaries are important because they show who they are meeting and also who they are NOT meeting. Who has influence and who doesn’t. This is useful to give an indication of the informal lobbying that goes on in public bodies.

One thing the Evening Standard article did not point out was the large number of meetings the Mayor had with Muslim ‘leaders’ and organisations – far exceeding the proportion of Muslims to the London population and more than any other religious or special interest group.

In conclusion, although I’ve not always been Ken’s biggest fan, I have to give him praise where it’s due and apart from not providing the informaton in electronic form as I had asked, his office handled my FOI request in a professional and diligent manner. Indeed, my opinion of the Mayor did actually improve after receiving his diary. Let other politicians take note.

One Response to “London Mayor’s appointment diary”

  1. Nick Evans says:

    It’s not a total surprise that the LDA supports Ken’s pet projects. He appoints the members, sets the strategy, and can direct the LDA about how it carries out its role. He’s the LDA’s boss, in other words.

Leave a Reply