Ken: Jasper Was Wrong but I Still Want Him Back; Polite Society: Ken Livingstone Launches His Campaign with Emma Lynch, Who Is Seven Months Pregnant, and Sue Macdonald of the Royal College of Midwives

The Evening Standard (London, England), March 6, 2008 | Go to article overview

Ken: Jasper Was Wrong but I Still Want Him Back; Polite Society: Ken Livingstone Launches His Campaign with Emma Lynch, Who Is Seven Months Pregnant, and Sue Macdonald of the Royal College of Midwives


Byline: PIPPA CRERAR

KEN LIVINGSTONE finally admitted today that Lee Jasper had broken CityHall rules.

The Mayor said his former race adviser's sexually-charged emails to a womaninvolved in organisations which received public funds were "inappropriate".

He admitted he was "disappointed" over the row which prompted Mr Jasper'sresignation but failed to back away from his pledge to reinstate him.

The Mayor's staff are governed by a code of conduct which requires them todisclose any "close personal" relationships with groups that receive funding.

Mr Livingstone said: "He breached that absolutely. I'm disappointed... He waswrong not to do that." It is the first time the Mayor has admitted that MrJasper had done anything wrong. However, he insisted he did not regret thefaith he placed in his former aide. It comes after his senior economics aideJohn Ross told the London Assembly yesterday that his former colleague hadbroken City Hall rules.

In an interview with LBC radio, Mr Livingstone said: "He sent some sillyemails, no one disagrees with that, it's very embarrassing.

It's clearly not appropriate but that doesn't mean to say that Lee Jasper hashad any financial benefit from anything that he's done as my race adviser.

"Before all these emails came out we were dealing with very serious allegationsof fraud... He resigned because this stuff is embarrassing. It's not illegal,its embarrassing." Mr Jasper stepped down earlier this week after The Standardrevealed a string of messages sent to Karen Chouhan, the company secretary ofthe 1990 Trust and director of the Black Londoner's Forum, which received morethan [pounds sterling]638,000 from the Mayor's office.

At no point did he declare his relationship with Mrs Chouhan or any interest ineither organisation, in clear breach of City Hall rules.

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