So London Mayor Boris Johnson did answer Andrew Boff’s question on e-counting, or did he? Here’s the background on the question, and the section of Mayor’s question time copied in below (source [PDF]):
Question No: 3574 / 2009
For the 2012 elections would the Mayor prefer a £5million+ electronic count where the bulk of the costs would go to a foreign computer company or a £3.5million manual count where the bulk of the costs would go into Londoner’s pockets?
Answer from the Mayor:
The Authority’s Scheme of Delegation quite properly gives the Chief Executive, in his role as the Greater London Returning Officer, the right to take all the decisions about how GLA elections are delivered. That accords entirely with the practice across the country that politicians contest elections, and do not decide how they should be run.
The answer completely dodges the nub of the question as well as the budget setting powers of the Mayoralty along with the London Assembly. Of course politicians in power get a say in how elections are delivered, why else would a race for e-voting have been begun when Robin Cook had suggested an electronic general election after 2005 was a target?
Boris either doesn’t care, doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to take on his Chief Executive.
The question now becomes, how do we hold the Greater London Authority’s Chief Executive to account about election arrangements if the directly elected Mayor won’t?