A growing number of pundits are wondering why the mainstream press aren’t writing much – if anything – about Lee Jasper. The London mayor’s race adviser has been subjected to a stream of allegations made by Andrew Gilligan, the investigative reporter, in the Evening Standard.
Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall, was fuming to me the other day at how the story was being ignored by papers including the FT.
I did write a news story last night but it was spiked at midnight by one of my editors (mainstream media gatekeepers). You may have already read something similar in the Standard but for those readers outside the capital.
"Police officers have carried out searches of premises in south London as investigations get under way into five separate projects that received public funding from the London Development Agency.
Lee Jasper, senior race adviser to Ken Livingstone, mayor, admitted on Monday that £18,000 of public money was diverted to a private company of which he had been director.
Ethnic Mutual, a project that has received more than £1m in public funding, lent the money to African Caribbean Positive Image Foundation, a group that no longer exists.
But Mr Jasper said the loan had been arranged by Emerson Braithwaite, a fellow director, without his knowledge. The loan was subsequently "reassigned" to Mr Braithwaite personally and he had made arrangements to pay it back.
Mr Jasper said he only became aware of the loan after an investigation by the LDA and the Financial Services Authority. "The loan was not agreed by me, nor was I formally or informally consulted or contacted about it as a director of the company [ACPIF]", he said.
The Met confirmed on Monday night that it was carrying out five investigations involving public funding but it refused to comment on the identity of the organisations or individuals.
The claims have threatened to destabilise Mr Livingstone ahead of May’s mayoral elections, where he faces a challenge from Boris Johnson of the Conservatives. An internal inquiry has rejected the claims but a cross-party group of London MPs has called for a separate independent inquiry."