London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been cleared over a formal complaint made against him about a promotional deal with United Airlines in exchange for business class seats.
In May 2022, Khan flew to the US for a five-day mission trip. One of the goals of the trip was to promote London as a place to visit and invest in.
The complaint, lodged by Caroline Russell, a London Assembly Member and Councillor for Highbury East Ward in Islington, claims that the trip lacked “transparency” over Khan’s failure to declare that the flights were gifted by an airline.
United Airlines flew 10 members of Khan’s office, along with journalists, in business class to the US in exchange for “promotional opportunities”.
During his trip, Khan posted social media updates with captions promoting United Airlines.
Air fares for the group’s journeys to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and back to London were covered by United Airlines. Only fees and taxes were paid by Khan’s team.
The mayor’s office had previously said that the deal was not a “formal partnership” and that Khan would “make no apologies” for “saving taxpayers money on the flights”.
“It’s actually very straightforward – London’s mayor is bound by the principles of public life outlined in the Code of Conduct, and I am concerned the integrity of his office has been tarnished by what appears to be the endorsement of a product that actively harms the very people he was elected to serve,” Russell said in Facebook post, where she also announced that she has made a formal complaint regarding Khan.
On December 21, 2023, however, it was revealed during the Mayor’s Question Time that the grounds for the complaint were rejected and will not be taken further.
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