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From virtue to venalityCorruption in the city$
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Peter Jones

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719088728

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719088728.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

London corruption

London corruption

The fall of the House of Porter

(p.95) 5 London corruption
From virtue to venality

Peter Jones

Manchester University Press

The corruptions of Dame Shirley Porter, the Tesco heiress, and leader of Westminster City Council regarded by Conservatives as flagship council were not the only instances of corruption in London but they were the most sensational and they were regarded as gerrymandering. Her use of the right to buy scheme to gentrify particular electoral wards within Westminster City Council under the guise of ‘Building Stable Communities’ was judged by the District Auditor, John Magill, to be improper. Porter’s lack of political guile was exposed by Ken Livingstone and the new urban left. However, the Porter case was unusual: corruption in London stemmed from the immobilisme generated by the division of responsibilities between the London Boroughs and The Greater London Council. Prior to the Porter case corruption had embarrassed Labour in Whitechapel, Stepney, Lambeth and Haringey which were all Labour controlled and where local Labour leaders often acted in the style of T. Dan Smith as unaccountable political bosses. Porter’s disgrace caused her to leave the country and she fought a long legal battle without success to avoid the surcharge that was levied upon her.

Keywords:   Immobilisme, gerrymandering, right-to-buy, new urban left, gentrification, District Auditor

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