I was on the London bit of The Politics Show yesterday offering a tribute to Sir Simon Milton. (About 43 minutes in). Sir Simon was Boris Johnson's Chief of Staff and his death last week is an immense loss to Boris. As Cllr Sarah Richardson said on this site: "Simon was proof that you don’t need to be loudest voice in the room to have the most influence."
But I don't accept the narrative that the administration at City Hall will fall apart. I expect Boris will reshuffle his team, perhaps bring in one or two new people. His has a lot of talent to draw on. There is his housing advisor Richard Blakeway, who has championed getting more Londoners on the housing ladder. There is Munira Mirza who has worked to ensure more of the capital's children learn to play a musical instrument and has also promoted cultural events across the whole of London – without them being politicised as they were in the Livingstone era. There is my old friend Lizzie Noel promoting social action and volunteering.
Matthew Pencharz is the Mayor's bright and effective political advisor. Anthony Browne has proved a good signing at Economic Development. Guto Harri, the acting Chief of Staff, has been generally acknowledged to have been excellent on the communications role – remaining loyal to Boris by resisting poaching attempts. Appointing Cllr Daniel Moylan as Deputy Chairman of Transport for London was another very sensible decision.
The London Assembly may be a waste of time in itself but some of its members have played key roles. Kit Malthouse has been improving the efficiency of the police and boosting the number of Special Constables. Brian Coleman has been tackling restrictive practices at the London Fire Brigade.
They are a varied bunch in style. Some quiet, some brash. There is a spread of political views – not all are even Conservative Party members. Unlike his predecessor, Boris does not operate a clique. But in their different ways they are all effective in promoting Boris's agenda in their particular fields.
The work will continue. That is the greatest tribute of all to Sir Simon Milton.