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The worst party in this whole saga is the Church! if they knew about all this 10 years ago they could have done something about it. But as usual they chose to cover it up!

Hardly, Michael. We should have done due diligence. Sounds like we didn't bother. Now we have to ask why.

Ice cold baby. Ice cold.

Delete it if you like. But remember this. We stuffed yas on this one.

So he's not JP after all. Is he a total fraud? We need better checks.

This leaves several people looking rather silly, not least the editor of this site whose absurd Pravdaesque post on ToryDiary yesterday now looks even more foolish than it did at the time.

The absurd bleatings about a "Left-wing witch-hunt" also look risible now. Are we going to enter denial every time something like this happens or are we going to face up to the uncomfortable truth? Ray Lewis was clearly a dodgy character and it is an absolute joke that he became Deputy Mayor.

Cameron and Johnson have been playing identity politics and this is their comeuppance. Boris chose Lewis because he was black and Boris was vulnerable on the race issue. It was a tawdry piece of politics and it's blown up in his face.

You have to question Boris's sense of judgement. His career has been littered with errors and miscalculations. The suspicion that he would embarrass the party is proving sadly prescient.

Who's next.
Spelman or Duncan?
Fucking amateurs.
Did they check anything at all?

Camerons all over the TV with Lewis.

Taxi for Nick Boles.....

I am not a Boris fan at all and would not have voted for him. This said, this is a rather said racist episode. It has all the hallmarks of the Left regarding ethnic minorities as their proprietary property. They could not accept someone like Ray Lewis being of the Right.

I hope the allegations are unfounded, but compared to Lee Jasper, is this really so poisonously bad?

Of course Boles won't be held to account. He wasn't for his risible performance in the general election, so why should he be made to suffer by his mate Dave for this? Boles' well-funded public salary was precisely justified on the grounds that exactly this sort of thing wouldn't happen. Get the odds now on Boris imploding before his term is up while they're still relatively low.

Hobson's choice. Previously Boris was d*mned for not standing by his underling and now he is being d*mned for standing by this underling.

Is nobody suspicious that there seems to be a lot of background "digging" going on? That any dirt at all will do... if we couldn't beat Boris let's get his staff instead...

That said, whoever mentioned insufficient background checks and due diligence has a point.

Well we should still wait to find out the truth of the rumours, for I gather Ray Lewis had gone through all the selection procedures to become a Magistrate, just not completed the final stage, and I hear the Bishop was peeved with him for preaching in his Parish when he wasn't supposed to. Hardly crime enough to justify a lynching.

But from what I gather the real loser are going to be the black youths in London, for whom Ray Lewis seemed, from a distance, had some really good ideas to give them discipline and self respect.

This is all very unfortunate! Boris's team needs to be much better at vetting people in the future.

Two months, two resignations. What a Boles up!

I think the JP thing, and how Boris was clearly misled, is the real problem. Just being economic with the truth in public life, isn't going to wash. What else has he misled Boris on. It's no good.

We need to move on. Sure Boris and Cameron should have checked further, but they acted in good faith, but this guy appear not to be right for such a role.

Yawn, no-one outside London cares. Now about Brown's running of the economy, high taxes, inflation, housing market...

Very sad..I met Ray once and he was genuinely impressive. But McGrath and now Lewis ...it shows total incompetence.

And Graham, I'm afraid it does matter...London has 74 Parliamentary constituencies...many of them highly marginal....

As I said earlier today -

"Why do all politicians insist on surrounding themselves with questionable friends?

Are they unworldly and gullible innocents or are their friends just like them?

Sad to say, snake oil salesmen (and women ) come in all shapes and sizes.

If DC doesn't clean out the hangers on and the hustlers before the election just imagine the sound of the skeletons falling out of the cupboard after it.

Lewis looks like a milestone the Mayor hung around his own neck. It took 8 years to discredit Ken - Boris has managed it in 8 weeks."

This guy couldn't even resign with dignity

How many more of these hustlers has Dave signed up. Time to take a close look at the A-list before it explodes in his face

Damn. This is bad.

Labour must be laughing in their boots.

Shame really. Despite Lewis' past misdeeds he has done a damn fine job of getting young people off of the streets and into some constructive activities in his Academy.

We need greater checks on who we recruit. Everyone must be vetted on everything they've done for the past 20 years.

However, there is another side to this. Lewis and Spelman have both been hit by allegations based on things they did a while ago. Labour will be digging for more. We need to dig back, and dig harder. The Labour Party heirarchy is ripe for possible misdeeds, and we need to exploit this. If not, they will smugly discredit us in the press while we rest on our laurels. The vultures that are circling ove rthe heads of Brown and Co need to be coerced into attacking the dying Government quicker, and if finding out some nasty info on them is the way to go then so be it.

Or perhaps we should simply wait for the weight of their own incompetence to come crashing down on them. Who knows?

All that is for certain is that we need to stop the current mess in our own party and move towards creating a Conservative Administration after 2010.

Very depressing I thought what he had achieved was reference enough. Surprised about the Magistrate thing - from what I haave observed , you more or less have to be from an ethnic or 'disadvantaged' minority to get selected as a Magistrate these days !!

Was it not remarkable how quickly the story changed?

The overnight headline story was that the allegations against Lewis involved "sex abuse" [Evening Standard], or "sexual impropriety" [Telegraph], and "sexual misconduct" [Telegraph]. At the milder end of the scale the Guardian had "sexual in nature" though the Indy went the whole hog about a "sexual past".

The Chelmsford diocese has, perhaps necessarily, been very circumspect, saying that Lewis was put on the Lambeth list of banned clerics "because a misdemeanour of such seriousness had been committed that in the opinion of the Archbishop, the person concerned should not exercise his ministry for the time being." That sounds somewhat more serious than a few thousand quid of loose change. We do not know more from the diocese because someone (according to the BBC, the Mayor's Office) called in the heavy mob of "our legal friends".

Any bets on the News of the Screws having something for the weekend, sir? But, of course, as the old adage has it: the best Labour scandals are always financial, and the best Tory ones are always sexual.

I find this very disturbing - we have two years to go until the next election and we have these disasters unfolding. What next? We know about the clouds over Alan Duncan and Peter Oborne is onto him and we have Lyons looking into Spelman. Can I suggest that all those with a cloud over them are removed in the forthcoming shadow cabinet reshuffle for very obvious reasons.

Irritated as I am by this whole thing (see above post), you have to admire Boris's courage in sticking by the man. How many politicians would have kept their head down and sought to deflect the flak? 99% of them. Credit to Boris for putting his head above the parapet and doing what he believed was right.

It's just desperately sad for all concerned.

I trust Ken will be on air to criticise the media for running a vicious racist campaign like the one he claimed against Jasper.

I think the only thing that CCHQ didn't take enough cognisance of when Boris - a Conservative was considered for Mayor of London, was the depths to which Labour activists would go - and will continue to go to undermine any success that he may have!

People on this site - other than the ones blogging on this thread at the moment!, have warned that the socialist 'machine' will get much worse yet before the GE in an effort of undo what they can see now is a genuine threat to their years of comfortable ride on the gravy train!

But don't crow too much 'the mighty labour party' (no capitals needed there!), because you see as the various election wins are showing, the public at large are beginning to realise JUST HOW MUCH YOU CARE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS TO THEM - NOT. Of course you will go on muck raking, thats what you do so well, like manhandling people out of conferences, because they are not supine enough! Just like the fascists in fact!

Patsy Sergeant, don't be so ridiculously paranoid. It does you no credit.

Adam, I agree with one of your comments: “despite Lewis' past misdeeds he has done a damn fine job of getting young people off the streets and into some constructive activities in his Academy.” As we are going to use the private, voluntary sector to help bring alienated groups back into the wider society, isn’t this a problem we are going face more often. The people likely to be able to reach out to these groups are likely to be from those groups. They are not going to be saints. They will have racy pasts. They are unlikely to be happily married chartered accountants.
In retrospect it was an error putting him into a high-profile political position. We need to encourage these people and use their talents. It is not fair to put them in frontline political posts. Better we learn this now than when we win the next election. We might not just have lost a deputy mayor but, by ruining Lewis’s career, some young people might have lost the chance to escape a life of social alienation

Very ,very sad about this. Lewis certainly seemed a man I could look up to and the fact that he isn't what he seemed is a huge cause for regret. The social justice agenda is one of the more exciting aspects of a Cameron government. Ray Lewis's ideas would have been a key part of that .
Also saddened by the generally anonymous scum posting on this thread. Labour trolls I presume.

Actually Alexander King, I was not being 'ridiculously paranoid' or 'Pravdaesque' to quote your words, I was quoting facts!! And I may say that, admittedly some time ago, but I was then probably as familiar with Pravda as you probably are.

Ah well. The end game is not played out yet and I look with keen interest to see how it is played out. It will say a lot about the character of those involved, and season those who survive. I am still confident that the allegations can go no further than allegations . But time will tell. I am very sorry for the EYLA and I hope it weathers this storm and continues it good work. We await the verdict of the investigation.

Does anybody dispute that Ray Lewis is an inspirational character and was doing great good?

The real casualties tonight are London's youths, who will lose the benefit of Ray Lewis’s work. Instead of tribal gloating, the Labour trolls here might like to reflect upon that the next time a London teenager is stabbed to death -- and you probably won't have to wait long.

Church leaders might like to reflect on the same thing. From the very beginning, whose interests were they serving in the way they handled this issue?

Boris has lost another life and now he needs to get a grip.
His problem is that he isn't streetwise and he probably isn't aware of the scandals around the Black Arts Centre at the Roundhouse in Camden, or Dolly Kiffin's profitable involvement in the Broadwater Farm problems.
He would know about Lee Jaspar, but, good liberal chap that he is, he was prepared to offer the benefit of the doubt to yet another "plausible" community leader.
Boris is innocent OK? But let's hope he gets some decent commonsence advice from now on.

Yeah, poor, martyred Ray Lewis was a truly inspirational figure. I was particularly inspired by the way he told ridiculous lies about being a JP. In many ways he's like Nelson Mandella.

If only the evil commie liberals who run the Evening Standard hadn't told the truth about him.

"Cameron and Johnson have been playing identity politics and this is their comeuppance. Boris chose Lewis because he was black and Boris was vulnerable on the race issue. It was a tawdry piece of politics and it's blown up in his face."

What utter rubbish. Lewis may or may not have been a dodgy choice, but to claim that his appointment was merely 'identity politics' is downright offensive. Can anyone black be appointed on merit, or is it all 'tawdry politics'? Check out the website of the Eastside Young Leaders Academy - http://www.eyla.org.uk/ - and tell me that he isn't qualified to speak and govern on issues about youth. The philosophy that he has taught these kids is just what we need.

Nelson Mandela is an inspirational figure to many round the world, including those he fought against. His address in 1964 from the dock "During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die" sums it up. He stood by his decisions and admitted to bad ones. That is inspirational and something many politicians could learn from, including the whole of the current Cabinet who seem to live in a culture of vindictive and passive/aggressive spitting fear that they be challenged in any way. Ray Lewis is also inspirational in his own community. I think there are few who would consider the ES liberal communists, especially the unlamented late Mayor whose vice of saying what he liked but censuring immediately and volubly anybody else who availed themselves of the same privelige. The fix, and yes I call it a fix to enable him to stay in office by distinguishing between private and public behaviour and ruling that the public figure was not to be held to account for behaviour in the being of a private citizen, had the perverse effect of allowing BNP councillors to get away with some scandalous remarks and retain their council seats. This current Labour administration has so undermined integrity of political life that libel and calumny are now seen not only as perfectly acceptable methods of political strife, but cheered and admired. To me it reveals only that the heart and soul of Labour has migrated to a place that would cause the founders to turn in their graves.

Has Ray Lewis done anything illegal? If so, why wasn't he charged with an offence and either acquited or found guilty? If he has an academy, he must have been CRB checked.

There is something dodgy about all of this certainly but as AdamR at 21.22 points out:

"Despite Lewis' past misdeeds he has done a damn fine job of getting young people off of the streets and into some constructive activities in his Academy".

I personally think that is of much greater importance to our current society than minor peccadilloes.

Perhaps our Labour friends who are crowing could remind us how many ministers and Labour placemen have resigned as a consequence of their proven incompetence or dishonesty. Not many!

All human beings have done things that they will be ashamed of. The difference between the great and the ordinary is that despite their flaws, the great have been able to make a positive impact on society.

Ray Lewis, may have had past failings, but he was able to overcome these and inspire young black children. In his role as deputy mayor, he would have been able to apply these successes to all the young people in london.

I believe that society suffers when we try to bring people down on the basis of past moral failings. The Right has been just as guilty as the Left of this kind of gutter politics.

Isn't he precisiely the sort of person who this site wants to set up schools and adminster "faith-based" welfare programmes with taxpayers' money?

What would five years of these stories do for the chances of a Conservative Government getting re-elected?

It will be open season now on all of Boris' appointments.
Every chink in armour will be exploited by Livingstone.
I wouldn't be surprised if Labour hasn't already set up a team to make sure the process of character assassination is thorough.
A poor vetting process and the failure to stand up for James Mccgrath has made BJ seem an easy target.

Labour's reaction to this, from Hazel Blears in particular, has been ungracious, hypocritical, desperate, opportunistic and partisan. The BBC should be ashamed at making this one of their top headlines.
I hear no acknowledgement from them of all the good things Ray Lewis has done.

The bigger picture: "Isn't he precisiely the sort of person who this site wants to set up schools and adminster "faith-based" welfare programmes with taxpayers' money? What would five years of these stories do for the chances of a Conservative Government getting re-elected?"

Perhaps Ray Lewis is more flawed than some of us believed but I still salute the work he has done with young men and young offenders. People are complex and great deeds and great weaknesses can be found in the same person's life story. I hope Ray will yet prove to be largely innocent of the charges against him. The worst outcome would be if the next Conservative government doesn't invite community entrepreneurs like Ray to help overcome the social problems that have defeated the welfare state and conventional charities.

Totally agree with Mark Fulford...those that have hounded him to get out for their own personal and political ends should be ashamed.

..and those above saying that there should have been better vetting etc. - you're assuming he is totally guilty and that everyone in any post of power has to be perfect in case the other side bully the, the big bullies that they are.

Again, if it was serious, why hasn't the church said something before, and why did they go to the media when they did?

Norm Brainer:
Vetting someone does not imply guilt or otherwise. What is does do is give you the opportunity, if any risk to employee, employer or clients is perceived, to not proceed with the appointment or to build a defence to that risk and proceed with the appointment. Most happily would be that no risk was perceived. Risk can cover many areas, and not just the actions of the applicant.
If vetting had brought out these facts in Mr Lewis's case, Boris may still well have decided to proceed if having examined them he thought them groundless. What is difficult to do is to build a defence as you go along with allegations and accusations flying in piecemeal. No matter how right you are, you can still be made to look a fool.
What is moot and a recurring theme in this blog, is how did this not arise during the foundation of EYLA and his appointment as Junior Governor? The answers to those questions will go a long way to resolving this issue one way or another.

Labour's reaction to this, from Hazel Blears in particular, has been ungracious, hypocritical, desperate, opportunistic and partisan... I hear no acknowledgement from them of all the good things Ray Lewis has done.

You reap what you sow. When the Evening Standard was viciously and mercilessly going for Livingstone and his people, did you say "Hang on, let's not rush to judgement, let's investigate the allegations and not condemn someone on the basis of innuendo and gossip"? Did you? No, you said, "Well done ES, go get em."

Well, you can't complain when the attack dog turns on you.

It may seem like good short term politics to jump on the bandwagon when your opponents are under attack, but it rebounds on you in the end, and both sides are the poorer for it.

Labour would be very unwise to make political capital out of this. Far better to call a truce, otherwise this country's going to become ungovernable due to a poisonous tabloid press determined to undermine whoever's in power.

Old age creeping in again. My understanding is that the Lambeth Listing on Mr Lewis was removed in 2005 when the £25,000 debt was paid in full with interest (The Mail Ray Lewis Timeline : Suspended from preaching for 6 years from 1999-2005), if I am wrong I am sure I will be corrected. So if he the Church cleared him, (implicitly by letting him preach again), why all the emphasis on "on-going impropriety" (not explicit as such but that is the message)?

Hopefully Ray Lewis will be able to continue with his work without the collar of deputy mayor hanging round his neck & strangling him.
That may well have proved a hindrance than a help.
Don't cut his salary either.

Further to snegchui's useful comments at 13.32 above, I see from today's Telegraph that, although Scotland Yard had received complaints about Ray Lewis over the past decade and in one case they led to his arrest for deception,each case was investigated and in each case the police concluded that no action should be taken.

I think we need some balance here; Ray Lewis might have been skating on thin ice for a while but the work he does for deprived children is surely the thing that really matters and in order to carry out this work he must have CRB clearance.

If he can make a positive difference in this area, I hope he will be reinstated and that he will take what has happened as a final warning.

If you have a buffon as Mayor these sort of things will happen. The fault lies with Conservative Party members who voted for the Buffon to be the Party`s candidate in the first place.

This is yet another example of how the clown is not up to the job. He takes no interest in knowing what is going on, but it all has rather higher stakes than being the back bench MP for Henley or chairing Have I Got News For You.

I would have expected nothing less from Ms. Blears, Votedave @ 12.33 - she is still so entranced with where she finds herself, that resisting the opportunity to be ungracious and hypocritical would be too good to miss, and of course the BBC loves willing 'tools'!

To be more serious would it not be possible to bring the apparent historical case against Ray Lewis out into the open - that is if it has been resolved. Heavens above quite a few reconstituted villians are out there, doing quite well for themselves in an advisory capacity. There was one on the panel several nights during this last week, participating in the Forum on knife and gun crime on Channel 4.

What makes such good fodder for the hacks is when the REAL truth is not known, so they can speculate endlessly, which of course they love doing, and put any slant on it that they wish.

The bottom line to all this is should Boris Johnston have appointed as his deputy someone who had been barred from holding office in the Church of England. Of course he shouldn`t have. You can`t attack Labour for sleaze if you are going to defend people on your own side who are unfit to hold office. Lets have some sort of consistency please.

Two big problems here and they will stay with us whatever the outcome of the whole story about Ray Lewis will be. (I didn't want to call it a case because he has not been formally charged with anything.) One is this extraordinary notion of dragging experts into politics. It never works, be they businessmen, ex-servicemen or people who have run successful educational establishments. If you look back on the history of this you will see that all these attempts failed for one reason or another, no matter which side of the political divide they were on. Ray Lewis should have been allowed to get on with what he was doing well with his advice being unofficially solicited from time to time.

The second problem is the post of the Mayor. It is a pointless position and that of Deputy Mayor even more. Precisely what was Ray Lewis going to do as Deputy Mayor, anyway? I have never understood that. Education is not in the Mayor's domain and neither is operational policing.

Well said Helen @ 22.42. My own experience has been that bringing people into politics for their 'expertise' after a lifetime spent outside politics rarely makes for a happy outcome.

Boris does need to tread very carefully. Remember that City Hall is stuffed with Livingstone appointees - and Ken was not noted for his non-partisan approach. It seems that someone from the Church did write about Ray Lewis to Boris but that someone in the Mayor's office failed to pass the letter on to Boris. One wonders who that was and why.

Maybe I'm just paranoid.......

Boris is not focused on this job, as this incident and others make clear.

He is a loose cannon and should not have been allowed to run for this.

This is not the first time the party has failed to vett someone properly. Remember Tony Lit in the Ealing/Southall by-election who days before the poll was pictured grinning next to Tony Blair handing him a cheque. Also Helen Grant, who was picked for the safe seat of Maidstone, turned out only days after her selection, to have tried to become a Labour councillor 18 months earlier. We are witnessing the rise of the bandwagon jumping careerists. The party is encouraging them because they tick boxes and have money. it is a joke.

"Remember that City Hall is stuffed with Livingstone appointees - and Ken was not noted for his non-partisan approach. It seems that someone from the Church did write about Ray Lewis to Boris but that someone in the Mayor's office failed to pass the letter on to Boris. One wonders who that was and why.

Maybe I'm just paranoid......."

Or maybe, lifelongtory you have a point! Something about this whole thing stinks.


The next tripwire for Boris is going to be Holland Park School. Does he honour his election pledges on open space and school playspace or back up Conservative Kensington and Chelsea's ambition to sell the space for luxury housing?

I don't think Boris Johnson can do this job. He takes no interest in the political or policy details and doesn't prepare for what is around the corner in terms of the politics or even properly preparing for media interviews.

It's one thing for him to make himself look like a clown, quite another for him to make our party look clownish.

Please can I hear the Editor saying once more that Boris's rule is a precursor of what we should expect under the Tories UK-wide?

Boris should have gone ahead with the independent inquiry so we could get to the bottom of all this so we wouldn't make the same mistake again,to stop now looks very poor indeed and we end up not knowing one way or the other if these allegations are true,i really am now starting to worry if boris is actually the man for such an important job,i will still give him the benefit of doubt but if routemaster is shelved then he will lose my support.

This was a big mistake. We should have gone with a candidate the party leadership believed could have done the job.

Someone is going to have to babysit him from now on.

Boris Johnson is the one who shouldn't be there. Can't Richard Barnes take over?

Let me remind the wailing mob on this forum why Boris Johnson was pressurized to stand for Mayor of London. Because he was the only one who stood a reasonable (better than reasonable, as it turns out) chance of winning. Anyone who thinks Richard Barnes (who?), Warwick Lighfoot, Victoria Borwick or, even, Andrew Boff could have outwitted Ken Livingstone has not really looked at the situation particularly carefully. Now that Johnson is in the true situation becomes clear (though not to some commenters): the Mayor has influence and money but no power. The only thing he can do is make grandstanding gestures like appointing Ray Lewis for a job that was never going to be of any use to anyone. Time to start thinking about the whole of the GLA and, as I said before, the concept that outside experts can do politics if they have not shown any interest or aptitude before.

The election is over now. NOW we need someone who can do the job of Mayor. He can't.

Muddy waters are a bad place to be. And rightly or wrongly, that is where Boris has chosen to leave this. He may well pay as now being seen "an antiseptic naysayer" himself. If there is bad to come out, then have the courage to do it - face it and say "I made a mistake, and the man who made no mistakes made nothing", if there is no bad, then it will be a triumph.
Leave muddled brown behind, then you know what, you will be seen as muddy brown. This "No longer Deputy Mayor, can't justify the taxpayer's expenditure" is absolute tripe, bollox and rubbish. It negates the opportunity to clear one's name, and it also negates the opportunity to protect the EYLA from cheap gibes. This is truly shameful on the part of the Mayor's Office and the Tory Party,
I have a full bag of invective but why waste time and effort on anti-septic teflon yesmen - yes you Boris.
I truly think exploding this out would do a lot to clear out the nomenklatura and their practices in this country, and could be a positive defeat, and possibly a positive victory.
And to really show my roots, "May your sister look upon you with eyes of tears and may each one burn you"

What a joke. Boris stands up next to him and defends him when the story originally breaks but he lets James McGrath go to the wolves over a comment that any sane person knows wasn't racist. What double standards and totaly hypocracy. Boris has got off to a shaky start and he needs to get a grip of his office. Too many chiefs and he needs a sensible top man to bring some realism and credibility to his administration not the shower he has right now.

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