Mayor Johnson fails to condemn GPU smear by Policy Exchange

MuradMurad Qureshi, member of the London Assembly, questioned the Mayor of London on the briefing circulated by Policy Exchange prior to the Global Peace and Unity event this year.

Murad asked: “In view of the warm welcome you sent to this year’s Global Peace & Unity Event at the Excel Centre, will you join me in condemning the irresponsible ‘briefing’ circulated by Policy Exchange which sought to associate this mainstream and well-attended event with extremism?”

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, replied: “I am not aware of any such briefing, so I am unable to comment on it.”

The Mayor’s Director of Policy, Anthony Browne, and his Director of Arts, Culture and the Creative Industries, Munira Mirza, are both from Policy Exchange.

PX sought to discredit the hosting of the GPU this year and circulated a briefing note urging politicians and others to stay away. The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg MP, brought the briefing to light and wrote to Neil O’Brien, PX Director, criticising the organisation’s attempt to sully the reputation and intent of the GPU.

The Mayor’s response will seem unsatisfactory to many given the strong links between members of his administration and Policy Exchange.

ENGAGE, 19 November 2008