Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Wednesday, 9 July 2008 15:59 UK

Mayor advisers 'need more checks'

Tim Parker (l) and London Mayor Boris Johnson (r)
Tim Parker (left) is the former boss of Clarks shoes and the AA

The people appointed to advise London's mayor should have their backgrounds checked more thoroughly, according to First Deputy Mayor Tim Parker.

He admitted the resignation of Deputy Mayor for Young People Ray Lewis, amid claims of financial irregularity, showed the need for more rigour.

It was currently "difficult to contend with" incidents when candidates do not tell the whole truth, Mr Parker said.

He did not rule out the possibility of Mr Lewis working with the mayor again.

Disciplinary measures

Mr Lewis had been one of a number of candidates shortlisted for the role of Deputy Mayor for Young People, Mr Parker told the London Assembly.

Background checks had been carried out but improvements needed to be made, Mr Parker added.

"What is difficult to contend with, and I think this is something which we will review, is incidences where people don't actually tell 100-and-whatever per cent of the truth," he said.

Mr Lewis resigned last week, two months into his post, after facing allegations relating to his time as a vicar in east London in the late 1990s and head of a youth academy scheme in 2003.

He was placed under Church of England disciplinary measures in 1999.

Ray Lewis
Mr Lewis resigned amid claims of financial irregularity

After Mr Lewis's resignation mayor Boris Johnson said he had been wrongly led to believe that Mr Lewis was a magistrate.

It followed last month's resignation of the mayor's director of political strategy James McGrath.

In addition to his deputy mayor role, Mr Parker is chairman of Transport for London and chief executive of the Greater London Authority.

The multi-millionaire former boss of Clarks shoes and the AA has agreed to take no salary for his roles, which he took up on Monday.

On Wednesday Mr Parker also indicated that Mr Johnson would take a different approach to London boroughs than his predecessor Ken Livingstone.

"My general sense is that there was an effort to exert control here," Mr Parker said.

"I would want to review that and I think the mayor would want to review that."

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