Lee Jasper

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Lee Jasper
Born4 November 1958
Manchester, England

Lee Jasper (born 4 November 1958) served as Senior Policy Advisor on Equalities to the then Mayor of London[1] Ken Livingstone until he resigned on 4 March 2008. He was the Respect Party candidate for the Croydon North by-election in November 2012.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Jasper was born on 4 November 1958 in Manchester, Lancashire, his British-born mother being of Irish and Sierra-Leonean descent and his father Jamaican.[citation needed] He was raised in a working-class home [citation needed] along with his mother and sisters until the age of eight, when he moved to nearby Oldham, where he remained until he was 21 years old.[citation needed] He was excluded from school [citation needed] and went straight into work in a succession of jobs in factories and warehouses in and around Manchester, also briefly running a market stall selling second-hand clothes.[citation needed] He returned to education as a mature student and gained a degree in social sciences from Manchester Polytechnic.[citation needed]. During his early adult years Lee served prison sentences for criminal assaults on police officers. [citation needed] Jasper has multiple offences on his criminal record and in an interview with "black nationalist" Sa Ra Garvey he claimed to have learnt how to knock out police with a single punch and run away[citation needed].

He moved to London in 1985, where he worked at the Mangrove Community Association[3] and became involved in the politics of the Notting Hill Carnival.

Over the next decade, Jasper became a race and human rights activist, sitting on various committees and groups such as the Inner London Education Authority, the Metropolitan Police, and the Royal Commonwealth Society.[citation needed] Jasper was a witness at the Stephen Lawrence inquiry as a representative of the 1990 Trust. He was also a group member of the Lawrence campaign. Jasper once provided training for the Metropolitan Police in community issues but this role ceased in 1995, following the Brixton riots, as police officers blamed Jasper for a speech inflaming the crowd.[1] Jasper was one of the main officers of the National Assembly Against Racism.[4]

Jasper was the Chief Political Commentator for The Voice newspaper during the 2010 election.[5] In 2010, he was awarded a Life Time Achievement Award by the NUS Black Student Campaign in recognition of his contribution toward challenging racism in higher education.[6] In July 2010, he was awarded a Pride of the Motherland Award (Africa) at The O2 Arena by the National Consortium of African Student Societies.

Jasper became a member of the Coalition of Resistance (COR) anti-cuts campaign.[7][8] Along with Zita Holbourne, he currently co-Chairs Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts (BARAC).[9] He is also a political adviser to the 1990 Trust[10] and a board member of Lambeth Police Consultative Group,[11] but resigned as Chair of Brixton Splash.[12]

In July 2011, Jasper suggested there were similarities between the extremist Anders Behring Breivik and Mayor of London Boris Johnson.[13]

Greater London Authority[edit]

Lee Jasper was appointed as Director for Policing and Equalities during Ken Livingstone's 2004–2008 term as Mayor of London. He was responsible for the development, enactment and promotion of equalities policies for the Greater London Authority (GLA) and had corporate responsibility for the development and delivery of anti discriminatory policies aimed at ensuring equality in employment practices and service delivery. He was also directly responsible for advising the Mayor on policing issues. He secured level 5 for the GLA, the highest level available for the Local Government Equality Standard; only a handful of public sector organisations have achieved this distinction.[citation needed]

Due to his role in the Greater London Authority, he played an important part at the European Social Forum hosted by the GLA in London in 2004. This caused some controversy, as there was disruption at the anti-racist session of the Forum. His strong criticisms of the disruption[14] were in turn condemned by a small number of hard left wing groups as stifling dissent.[15]

Funding controversy[edit]

In late 2007, the London Evening Standard levelled a series of accusation at Lee Jasper of cronyism and corruption.[16] Mayor Ken Livingstone suspended Jasper while investigations were subsequently carried out, but always maintained a belief in Jasper's innocence, stating: "I believe this investigation will exonerate Lee Jasper and show this to be a shameful campaign. As the interests of London are best served by putting an end to this malignant political charade I have concluded that a full police investigation is the most authoritative way to end this story once and for all."[17] Although it was strongly recommended that improvements be made to the GLA's administrative procedures, Jasper was cleared of misconduct in January 2008 with the GLA asserting that: "The report has been issued today of the review of allegations of LDA corruption and collusion in improperly awarding funds made by the journalist Andrew Gilligan in the Evening Standard in a series of articles in December 2007. The report finds these to be unfounded. The charge of a 'tide of corruption' made by London Assembly member Richard Barnes in the Evening Standard on 13 December is therefore also false."[18]

Jasper resigned on 4 March 2008 after the Evening Standard said Jasper had sent e-mails of an intimate nature to a woman involved with organisations who had received Greater London Authority grants and that Jasper has not declared the relationship. An Authority spokesman said, "Lee Jasper has stated that in light of material published today that he has tendered his resignation".[19] However, Scotland Yard found that Jasper had "no criminal case to answer".[20]

A GLA spokeswoman said: "The record of the GLA in dealing with racism in London has been outstanding. [...] The GLA is an exemplary authority achieving national recognition in the country in regard to equality and procurement. Lee Jasper played a leading role in regard to these, and no evidence has been presented for the criminal allegations presented by the Evening Standard."[20]

Boris Johnson launched an extensive Forensic Audit Panel investigation to examine in detail all aspects of Jasper's decisions and actions while in office. That committee reported in July 2008 that Jasper had acted at all times within his remit as a Mayoral adviser, although the panel did express concern about two members of his staff responsible for the Carnival Showcase.[21]

The most recent report, which was produced after a forensic 18-month independent investigation by the law firm DLA Piper and commissioned by the London Development Agency, examined all the fraud and corruption allegations made by the Evening Standard newspaper. The report published in June 2009 concluded that Jasper had not influenced the funding decisions of the LDA and that there was no evidence of fraud or corruption. However, it described Jasper's involvement in one body to receive funding to be "entirely inappropriate".[22] According to a BBC report of the investigation, although Haworth-Maden said he found no evidence of fraud or corruption, he called for a number of administrative improvements at the GLA. His report found that Jasper failed to record declared interests to the "standards expected". He also found that Jasper's role in approving funding was "inappropriate given his interests" in a number of cases.[23]

Later activities[edit]

Jasper was selected as Respect's candidate for the Croydon North by-election on 29 November 2012.[24] As he gained only 2.9% of the vote, he lost his deposit.

In November 2016, it emerged that Jasper had rejoined the Labour Party to support the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.[25]


  1. ^ a b Dodd, Vikram (9 May 2000). "Key jobs: Profiles of mayor's race advisers". The Guardian. London.
  2. ^ "By-elections: Labour retains three seats". BBC News. 30 November 2012.
  3. ^ "Obituary: Frank Crichlow, founder of Mangrove Community Association", operationblackvote, 17 September 2010.
  4. ^ Vikram Dodd Key jobs: Profiles of mayor's race advisers Guardian 9 May 2000
  5. ^ Pope, Steve (17 April 2009). "Why the black vote really can change the future face of Britain". Voice Online. Retrieved 27 April 2012.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Mr. Lee Jasper Receives Life Time Achievement Award". Operationblackvote.wordpress.com. 25 May 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Coalition of Resistance". Archived from the original on 30 October 2010.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Log In or Sign Up to View". www.facebook.com.
  10. ^ "1990 Trust". Archived from the original on 5 November 2010.
  11. ^ "CPCG Lambeth". www.lambethcpcg.org.uk.
  12. ^ "Brixton Splash".
  13. ^ "Breivik and the right". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  14. ^ Close (19 October 2004). "Letters: Unwelcome anarchy at the European Social Forum | Politics | The Guardian". London: Politics.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 30 October 2009.
  15. ^ "UK Indymedia | Anti-Racist Groups Accuse Lee Jasper of Playing 'Race Card' re ESF". Indymedia.org.uk. 20 October 2004. Retrieved 30 October 2009.
  16. ^ "Emails 'bring cover-up right to Mayor's feet'", Evening Standard, 13 December 2007.
  17. ^ "Mayor suspends funds row adviser". BBC News. 15 February 2008.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 May 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ London mayor's aide quits in funding row, Reuters, 4 March 2008.
  20. ^ a b Jones, Sam; Taylor, Matthew (4 March 2008). "Livingstone's race adviser resigns in cronyism row". The Guardian. London.
  21. ^ "Mayor of London – Value for money: Report of the Mayor's Forensic Audit Panel" (PDF). London.gov.uk. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 August 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  22. ^ Hill, Dave (3 July 2009). "The Standard and the LDA: sorrier still". The Guardian. London.
  23. ^ "Livingstone administration cleared over grant corruption charges", The Guardian, 2 July 2009.
  24. ^ Hannah Williamson, "Lee Jasper is Respect's candidate for Croydon North by-election", Croydon Guardian, 29 October 2012.
  25. ^ Schofield, Kevin (22 November 2016). "EXCL Row after controversial former Ken Livingstone adviser rejoins Labour". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 22 November 2016.

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