Boris capitulates to Evening Standard witch-hunt of Azad Ali (now there’s a surprise)

Boris+Johnson+yawningBoris Johnson today said he would cut funding to a Muslim advisory body that works with the police following a row over its links with a controversial blogger.

The London mayor’s pledge to halt money to the Muslim Safety Forum came after the Evening Standard yesterday revealed the organisation had received City Hall funding worth £30,000 under his watch, despite the fact that one of its founding members is Azad Ali.

Earlier this year, Ali made headlines when he was suspended from his civil service job at the Treasury over a blog attack on the government’s policy towards “the Zionist terrorist state of Israel”.

Johnson – who as London mayor has a duty to promote good community relations in the capital – said further funding to the MSF would be discontinued.

The organisation was set up following 9/11 and works closely with the Metropolitan police and other forces across the country on improving community relations.

“The mayor is very concerned to discover that taxpayers’ money has gone to this organisation,” Johnson’s office said. “The commitment was made by the previous mayor and the agreement was in place before the election. The mayor has ensured that no further payments will be made when the outstanding agreement is concluded.”

Guardian, 13 March 2009

Great work there, Boris. You’ve removed funding from an organisation that played a significant role in promoting good community relations in London. Still, that’s a small price to pay for retaining the political support of the Evening Standard, isn’t it?