Boris heads for talks with NY mayor

Published: Friday 13th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Boris Johnson will return to New York for talks with his counterpart in the city as he completes his US trade mission.

Bill de Blasio pulled out of a meeting with the London mayor earlier this week citing ill health, despite attending an event at New York University the same evening.

The left-wing New York mayor is expected to be well enough after recovering from a cold to discuss ways of boosting links between the two cities at the rescheduled talks this evening.

After arriving back in city, Mr Johnson will head straight to the 9/11 memorial then tour the New York Fire Department.

It comes after a fleeting visit to Washington DC that has seen the mayor, who is bidding to return to Westminster and is regularly tipped to succeed Prime Minister David Cameron as Conservative leader, bolster his contacts in the capital.

Mr Johnson attracted a strong turnout at a 40 minute lunch on Capitol Hill with senior House and Senate Republicans and Democrats, which followed a 20 minute one-to-one meeting with House of Representatives majority leader Kevin McCarthy

The discussion ranged across key international issues, including strong support for sticking to the Nato target of spending 2% of national income on defence, or even exceeding it, and the latest developments in the fight against Islamic State (IS).

During a question and answer session at the Brookings Institution, Mr Johnson called on the Chancellor to hand massive financial powers to cities to help “detoxify” British politics.

Westminster was going through a “very rocky period” and devolution would help to “electrify the political scene”, he said.

Mr Johnson said devolving fiscal powers would give cities a mandate to push growth policies instead of having to go “begging for penny packets of funding”.

He said: “To get it done you simply have to get the Treasury to understand that they make more money out of this. They have nothing to fear.

“Even a Labour mayor couldn’t possibly make a hash of this.”

The move would be fiscally neutral so it would be a “no lose” move for the Treasury, the mayor insisted.

He added: “When you look at the state of politics in Britain there is no question that it is going through a very rocky period.

“Politicians are not thought generally to be in touch with people, there’s a lack of communication, people don’t feel the politicians are answering their needs.

“Devolution is obviously the way forward.”

Published: Friday 13th February 2015 by The News Editor

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