Johnson loses another deputy as transport supremo quits

A high-flying businessman brought in by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to head his staff resigned suddenly yesterday – the third senior figure in his team to quit in as many months.

Tim Parker, the private equity magnate appointed as Mr Johnson's first deputy mayor with a brief to shake up City Hall and take over the crucial chairmanship of Transport for London (TfL), stood down after Mr Johnson said he would chair the transport body himself.

Mr Johnson also risked the wrath of David Cameron after describing the Conservative leader's descriptions of Britain's "broken society" as "piffle".

The abrupt departure of Mr Parker, a 52-year-old branded the "prince of darkness" by unions for his cost-cutting, comes after the resignation of another deputy mayor, Ray Lewis, who wrongly claimed to be a magistrate. Mr Johnson's senior adviser, James McGrath, quit in June for comments he made about immigrants.

Allies of Mr Johnson expressed surprise at the latest departure. Mr Parker was seen as quite a catch; he was confirmed as a board member of the London Development Agency only this month and was still described as the new chairman of TfL last week. He had been due to begin work next month.

Mr Johnson and Mr Parker insist that the decision for him to step down was amicable and said he would remain a board member of TfL and an adviser to the Mayor.

But critics said Mr Parker's sudden departure followed weeks of infighting and left Mr Johnson's attempts to build a mayoral administration in trouble.

The timing was not ideal for Mr Johnson to make a pointed attack on Mr Cameron's long-running critique of Britain's "broken society" – as he did in his Daily Telegraph column yesterday. The Mayor distanced himself from the Tory leadership's attack on Labour social policy, writing: "If you believe the politicians, we have a broken society in which the courage and morals of young people have been sapped by the welfarism and political correctness... If you look at what is happening at the Beijing Olympics, you can see what piffle it is."

Aides to Mr Cameron insisted that they were "relaxed" about the comments.

Mr Johnson said that he should take charge of TfL personally, explaining that in recent weeks "it has become increasingly apparent to both of us that the nature of the decisions that need to be taken are highly political and there is no substitute for me, as the directly elected mayor, being in charge."

Mr Parker said he had realised "that it would not be appropriate for an unelected official to chair a body which is responsible for most of the money and a large part of the brief of an elected mayor". He added: "I also agree with the Mayor that my position as adviser does not justify my full time and exclusive commitment to the Greater London Authority [GLA], or the title of first deputy mayor... I look forward to advising Boris on an ongoing basis on transport."

Allies of Mr Johnson expressed disappointment at Mr Parker's departure. One commented: "As far as Tim is concerned, his appointment was Boris's biggest coup by far. He is a very successful businessman who was going to be chief executive of London. Somehow all of that has gone for a piece of chalk."

Labour pointed to rumours of friction between Mr Parker and Sir Simon Milton, the former leader of Westminster Council brought in as deputy mayor for policy and planning.

The Labour GLA member John Biggs claimed there was "chaos on the eighth floor of City Hall". He said: "Relationships on the eighth floor are riddled with tensions and while Boris was keen to give him this position of first deputy mayor, Mr Parker's colleagues were clearly not supportive."

Mike Tuffrey, the Liberal Democrat leader on the assembly, said: "The wheels are coming off this new administration. Why is Boris losing yet another adviser? Has Tim Parker discovered that running London isn't as easy as running private business?"

Scourge of the unions

When Tim Parker was asked to leave the world of private equity which made him a multimillionaire to become chief of staff to the new Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, it took him "about two seconds" to say yes. Mr Parker took the position of first deputy mayor for a nominal salary of £1 a year. As an entrepreneur with a fortune estimated at £75m, he could afford to. The 52-year-old father of four was branded the "prince of darkness" by trade unions for his cost-cutting at the AA. Mr Parker was born in Aldershot to an army family. He read politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford and chaired the Oxford University Labour Club. He became a Treasury economist when he graduated during the chancellorship of Denis Healey, but left the Civil Service after two years to take an MBA. His business career has taken him from running Kenwood, Clarks and Kwik-Fit to heading the AA when it was taken over by the private equity giant Permira.

The other casualties

Ray Lewis

One of Boris Johnson's high-profile appointments when he was made deputy mayor in charge of young people. But the former vicar and junior prison governor was forced to quit within weeks after being engulfed in a string of sleaze allegations, despite protesting his innocence.

James McGrath

A Tory high-flyer and political adviser to Mr Johnson, Mr McGrath was forced to stand down in June over a race row when he was recorded suggesting black people should leave the country if they disliked a Tory-run capital. Mr Johnson insisted Mr McGrath was not racist, but said the comments made it impossible for him to continue.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker