Lee Jasper, the race advisor to London mayor Ken Livingstone, was today suspended following allegations made by the London Evening Standard.
Livingstone has released a statement calling for a police investigation, which he said would allow both him and his advisor to clear their names.
He said Jasper had been subject to ‘trial by media’and said the Standard’s investigation – a series of stories by reporter Andrew Gilligan stretching back to December – was a ‘shameful campaign’against him.
‘The Evening Standard should immediately take any evidence it claims to have to the police or stop making these false allegations – in the good old phrase, put up or shut up,’Livingstone said.
‘I have made the extremely difficult decision that like any GLA officer subject to a police investigation, Lee Jasper will be suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation.
‘As the interests of London are best served by putting an end to this malignant political charade I have concluded that a full police investigation is the most authoritative way to end this story once and for all.’
Police are investigating financial irregularities surrounding payments to six charities and business from the London Development Agency. In January Metropolitan Police officers raided the offices of the South London Green Badge Taxi School, which the Standard alleged was run by associates of Jasper. It has received £351,000 in funding.
Jasper said that there was a ‘deliberate attempt’to divert attention from the London mayoral election in May.
He said: ‘This is being done deliberately and consciously – far from seeking clarity, the Evening Standard for 10 weeks has been running stories of false allegations against me without taking alleged ‘evidence’ to the police.”