Mayor's Fund for London donors risk accusation of political favouritism, says Lib Dem member

But Boris Johnson claims he will not know who the wealthy donors are

London mayor Boris Johnson's decision to maintain anonymity for donors to the Mayor's Fund for London has been criticised by the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the London Assembly.

During mayor's question time, assembly member Mike Tuffrey asked Johnson to ensure that all donations of more than £1,000 were made public to ensure that donors were not giving money to win support from the mayor.

Johnson said he would follow "standard practice" for charities, and not give a list of individual donors. To avoid accusations of favouritism, he said, he would not know the names of any individual donors himself.

However, Tuffrey said donations might still be made to take advantage of the mayor's "enormous powers of patronage".

He said: "It will of course be totally impossible to protect Boris Johnson from finding out one way or another who has made significant donations to the fund.

"The only certain way to avoid the inevitable accusation that some donors are seeking to influence the mayor through giving large donations to the fund is by publishing all donations above £1,000.

"Openness and transparency are always better than secrecy."

The fund is expected to spend £1.5m in 2009 on projects to help disadvantaged youngsters. It also intends to start an £8m scheme across four local authorities around Shoreditch in 2010, and aims to have an annual turnover of £20m by 2013.

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