Boris’ hypocrisy on (economy) class

Boris Johnson has railed against Peter Mandelson for travelling to Davos in business class. But the mayor has abused his taxi expenses to the tune of £4,600.

Boris Johnson has used his weekly Telegraph column to rail against Peter Mandelson and his entourage’s decision to travel to the World Economic Forum in Davos by business class.

Johnson writes:

“Mandy and his entourage, of course, were flying sharp end; and as we struggled on down the aisle they subjected us to a certain amount of jocular raillery. They would send us some food, they scoffed, and perhaps a glass of champagne.

“In a spirit of glorious self-righteousness, we shouted back over our shoulders that this was the difference between Labour and Tories. Ours, I bragged, was the approach that the recession-battered public wanted to see. We were the ones who were being frugal with taxpayers’ money.”

Was Boris really annoyed about the additional expense the taxpayer would incur? Or the insult that being forced to accept a lower status during his 100 minute flight to Switzerland.

Never mind that Lord Mandelson denied this morning that the plane had first class, is this the same Boris Johnson that spent more than £4,500 of public money on taxis – including one bill for £237, during his first year in office?

Figures released in June 2009 revealed Johnson’s taxi claimed fares of more than £100 between May 2008 and May 2009. The receipts he submitted included one for £237.50 for a 7.5 mile journey across London – at £31 a mile. Other claims included a £99.50 return taxi from City Hall to Elephant and Castle, which are approximately a mile apart. And another expenses claim included a £99.75 cab from the Red Lion pub in Westminster to the City and a £101.83 return cab from City Hall to the Stock Exchange, just 2.4 miles away. There were many more examples of Boris’ taxi habits and how he is “being frugal with taxpayers’ money.” It is also worth noting that Mayor Johnson can travel for free on the tube.

He closes his opinion piece with this statement:

“The servants of the people should travel with the people.”


Our guest writer is Peter Carrol

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11 Responses to “Boris’ hypocrisy on (economy) class”

  1. Andrew Regan

    *Left Foot Forward* "Boris’ hypocrisy on (econom…": Boris Johnson has used his weekly Telegraph column to … #labour

  2. Jay Baker

    RT @leftfootfwd: Boris’ hypocrisy on (economy) class:

  3. Guido Fawkes

    I spend more on taxis than Boris. Won’t catch me cycling uphill…

  4. Mark

    In fairness, the latest figures show Lord Mandelson’s Business and Skills department spent £411,471 on taxis alone.

    It’s a shame the likes of Johnson and Mandelson feel the need to go to Davos, they could spend the time more productively at home, whether fixing London’s crap and expensive transport system or finding ways not to cut the university budget.

  5. Anon E Mouse

    If the electorate in London aren’t happy with Boris they’ll boot him out.

    Only Gordon Brown could put Lord Mandelson in the cabinet where he can’t be questioned AND the electorate can’t boot him out.

    Do you not see the difference Peter? Who’s side are you on?

    Typical control freak Brown actions… next you’ll be telling me the man is considering staying on as (unelected) leader when he’s cost Labour the next General Election….

  6. Peter Carrol

    Mark, do you have a source on BIS’ £411k taxi spend please?

    I suspect it isnt a reasonable comparison, an army of civil servants working for BIS regularly have to visit businesses, trade unions and constituencies across the UK, where the transport infrastructure is not quite as developed as London.

    A better way to approach a Labour/Tory comparison is with Boris’ predecessor. Ken spent £729 on taxi’s during his final year in office, an average of £2 a day.

  7. Mark

    Peter, just google “£411,471 taxi”. But you’re right, the number probably isn’t a reasonable comparison. I was just trying to point out that first or economy to Zurich, it doesn’t make a difference. Did you know the Treasury has booked a private jet to fly the Chancellor to the next G8 fin min meeting in Canada? And rightly so, the likes of the Mayor of London and a senior Minister like Mandelson should not be quibbling over airfares.

    Especially today when Mandelson is cutting the university budget, discussing taxi bills is a sorry distraction. Any chance of a blog post about these sorry cuts?

  8. Mr. Sensible

    Anon E Mouse, I think there is a proposal to make Peter answerable to the commons.

    And, I think a proposal in the Constitutional Reform Bill will allow Lords to stand down and stand as MPs.

  9. Anon E Mouse

    Mr.Sensible – When will it come into law?

    Mandelson should not be in that job – same with Kinnock’s wife. Remind me again when a single member of the people whose life she has (partially) the power to change voted for her. Not a single voter has ever cast a vote in her favour. It’s almost as bad as Baroness Ashton in Europe.

    More importantly though are the Labour MP’s so poor that brown can’t find two of them to fill these posts?

    (That’s probably rhetorical actually considering how useless the Milibands, Byrne, Burnham, Cooper and Balls are – to name but a few…)

  10. Will Straw

    Mark – we wrote about this last week when it barely touched the headlines:

    The only developments yesterday was that the already announced cuts were passed on.

    Anon – I understand where you’re coming from on Kinnock & Mandelson but where do you stand on the American system of a genuine separation of powers between Executive and Legislative. I can, for example, see a case for having an expert become Science Minister (I just don’t see why we have to ennoble them).

  11. Anon E Mouse

    Will – Agreed but I actually do like the monarchy if I’m honest. Well not Charles but you get the point…

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