Page last updated at 19:25 GMT, Sunday, 6 July 2008 20:25 UK

Lewis probe dropped by City Hall

Ray Lewis
Allegations against Ray Lewis date back to his time as a vicar

A planned inquiry into claims against former London deputy mayor Ray Lewis has been dropped by Boris Johnson.

The news comes after Mr Lewis resigned amid allegations of inappropriate behaviour and financial irregularities

A spokesman for the London mayor said it was "inappropriate" that taxpayers fund an inquiry into a private individual who had already resigned.

Labour says the Conservatives are in "disarray" after the resignation of Mr Lewis, who denies the allegations.

The inquiry was to have been led by the former director general of the Prsion Service, Martin Narey.

At the time Mr Johnson said it was "vital" that the investigation looked carefully at all the allegations against Mr Lewis.

'Career politicians'

Shadow chancellor George Osborne insisted the Tories had been right to take a chance on Mr Lewis.

He said he had offered "insights" into key issues such as knife crime and unless parties tried to bring in experienced figures from outside the mainstream, public life risked being dominated by "career politicians".

Mr Osborne added: "Of course, it would be very easy for Boris Johnson to just appoint a load of deputy mayors who are career politicians.

"But I do not think you would bring some other insights that someone like Ray Lewis, or indeed many other people, can bring on very tough issues like knife crime."

The allegations against Mr Lewis date back to his time as a vicar in the Parish of St Matthew in West Ham, east London, in the late 1990s.

They include claims that he received money from a man with learning difficulties and owed a debt to a fellow priest.

Confidence shaken

In a third case, a female parishioner went to church authorities and the police after giving Mr Lewis 25,000 to invest for her.

She started receiving regular interest payments but these allegedly stopped after a few months.

Mr Lewis stepped down after it emerged that the mayor had been told wrongly that he was a serving justice of the peace.

Mr Johnson admitted his confidence in Mr Lewis was shaken after he discovered he was not a "fully-fledged" magistrate.

Mr Lewis's resignation follows that last month of Mr Johnson's Deputy Chief of Staff James McGrath.




SEE ALSO
Tories in 'disarray' over Lewis
05 Jul 08 |  London
Uncertain future for Ray Lewis
05 Jul 08 |  UK Politics

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