Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Saturday, 24 October 2009 12:38 UK

Mayor attacks arts nominee veto

Veronica Wadley with Boris Johnson
Ms Wadley's then newspaper supported Boris Johnson's mayoralty bid

London mayor Boris Johnson has said a decision to reject his nominee as the capital's chair on the Arts Council was "purely political".

Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw vetoed his choice of Veronica Wadley, former editor of The Evening Standard, which backed his mayoralty campaign in 2008.

The mayor said he would not be putting forward another nominee and would now have to re-advertise the position.

Mr Bradshaw's office said the mayor risked damaging the arts in London.

'Important post'

Mr Bradshaw blocked Ms Wadley's nomination for the £7,000-a-year post earlier this month, saying her selection had not been in line with the "Nolan principles" designed to prevent political interference in appointments to public posts.

But Mr Johnson insisted the process during which Ms Wadley was selected had been completely transparent and adhered to the rules.

He added: "This was a bad decision and flies in the face of the mayor's government-sanctioned responsibility to nominate the London chair at the Arts Council.

"It is essential that London continues to have a voice on the national Arts Council, so I am proposing to re-advertise and rerun the recruitment process."

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: "Ben Bradshaw rejected the mayor's favoured candidate because the process had not followed Nolan principles.

"We expect the new process to follow them.

"Keeping this important post unfilled risks damaging the arts in London. The mayor is subject to a legal requirement to fill it as soon as possible and should do so."

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