Mayoral aide quits over 'stealing' comments

One of Boris Johnson's aides has resigned over comments he made about shoplifting from high street chains.

In an interview with a newspaper, Tom Campbell, the London mayor's cultural strategy manager, said he regularly steals food from cafe chains and supermarkets.

He told the Evening Standard: "I have a rule. If I ever go into a chain store or a chain place for lunch, I always have to steal something."

He said his reasoning behind the thefts was because he believed the outlets were "strangling the creativity and vitality of this city".

"That's how I justify going into the chains. That's the rule. If you go into a chain you have to steal," he said.

A spokesman for the Greater London Authority (GLA) confirmed Mr Campbell had offered his resignation but said he had been misrepresented by the paper.

He said: "Tom has offered his resignation as a freelance consultant to the GLA.

"He insists that the Evening Standard have misrepresented him and that words intended in a light-hearted and playful manner were taken to imply criminal behaviour.

"He recognises that - however intended - most readers could understandably suspect that he was admitting to shoplifting.

"He acknowledges that this is patently unacceptable for someone who is employed by a public body paid for by taxpayers' money.

"The GLA have accepted his resignation."