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Blow for Boris as deputy Mayor resigns

Tony Grew July 4, 2008

Ray Lewis has resigned as London’s deputy Mayor for young people with immediate effect.

There has been a welter of allegations about Mr Lewis, a former Church of England priest, in the past few days.

He was one of five deputy Mayors appointed by Mayor Boris Johnson, who yesterday gave his full backing to Mr Lewis, including his claim to be a Justice of the Peace.

Today the Ministry of Justice confirmed he has never held the position, while it emerged that he has been banned from serving as a priest.

“I believe that my deputy Mayor Ray Lewis is being made to suffer now because he has had the guts to serve in this administration and because he has had the courage to speak out against a stifling orthodoxy that has failed too many of our children,” Mr Johnson said yesterday.

“These allegations did not stop him from becoming a JP. They did not stop him from becoming an outstanding and respected prison governor.

“They did not stop him founding a school that has done untold good for east London children and they should not stop him from serving as my deputy Mayor.”

The Metropolitan police has confirmed that they have received a number of complaints about Mr Lewis over the past ten years and he has previously been arrested on suspicion of deception, but not charged.

Earlier today the Mayor announced that he has appointed Martin Narey, Chief Executive of Barnardo’s and a former Director General of the Prison Service, to lead an independent investigation into allegations against Mr Lewis.

However, this evening Mr Lewis stood down.

“The barrage of allegations, unfounded, in my opinion, untrue, continue. And it was my intention, as you all know, to fight on, and I intend to do so,” Mr Lewis said this evening in a resignation statement.

“But I cannot do so without obscuring the important business of the Mayor’s office. The drip-drip continues, and it’s getting in the very important work of this Mayor and his vision for London.

“Like a modern, impatient schoolchild, the media doesn’t seem to accept the principle of delayed gratification. So we go on.

“The effects on my family are beginning to tell and to show, and that must stop.

“Most of you will be aware that I haven’t been through the political Sandhurst on my way to this important office.

“But I thank Boris Johnson for giving me this opportunity to serve London in this particular way, and I’ve been pleased to do so for these past two months.

“This is a great Mayor, a man of vision, a man of courage, who I have grown to know, to love and to admire. Boris Johnson is a remarkable man and London is very fortunate, even blessed, to have him.”

Mr Lewis has been lauded by Mr Johnson and Tory leader David Cameron for his work with black teenage boys.

He founded an academy based on strict discipline and had considerable success turning around youth with behavioural problems.

Mr Johnson is due to take part in tomorrow’s Pride London parade and make a speech in Trafalgar Square.

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