London's left-wing mayor Ken Livingstone faced a harsh 3-hour grilling last night over a deepening scandal that has seen the city's equality adviser accused of nepotism and corruption. Hundreds of e-mails and memos released yesterday cast new light on at least $6.6 million in contracts allegedly awarded to friends of Lee Jasper, writes the Financial Times.
"Red Ken" has called the claims "politically driven" and racist. The two opposition parties have called for Jasper to resign or be sacked, and Livingstone has admitted Jasper's emails were inappropriate. Despite his popularity in London, Livingstone is facing a difficult battle for reelection against Tory MP and ex-Spectator editor Boris Johnson. The corruption charges threaten to tarnish Livingstone's campaign.