The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, today demanded a police investigation into misconduct allegations involving his race adviser, Lee Jasper, in the hope that the inquiry would prove his innocence.
The mayor also announced that Jasper, who has faced a series of allegations about his role in suspect spending decisions by the London Development Agency (LDA), would be suspended from office during the police investigation.
Jasper stressed that he had personally suggested to Livingstone that the allegations should be referred to the police.
Livingstone said it was now time for Jasper's critics to "put up or shut up".
"I believe this investigation will exonerate Lee Jasper and show this to be a shameful campaign," the mayor said in reference to the series of media reports about the allegations, mostly run in the Evening Standard.
The London assembly is investigating grants worth a total of more than £2 million that were paid by the LDA to projects run by Jasper's friends or alleged associates.
Jasper said today he had not been given the chance to prove his innocence.
"I am being prevented from clearing my name. Black organisations across London are being weakened by a systematic campaign in the Evening Standard, and a deliberate attempt is being made to divert attention from the real issues confronting London at the mayoral election," he said.
Poor "black organisations"! Still, there is one faint silver lining from which they, and the persecuted saint, can draw some small comfort:
Jasper, who earns about £120,000 a year, will continue to be paid while he is suspended.Nice work if you can get it!
Meanwhile, up in Scotland, an even crazier set of far-leftists also seem to be having a few small legal difficulties. In this case, it's those pesky perjury laws that are the trouble...