By Ian Dunt
Boris Johnson came under pressure to scrap Barclay's prominent sponsorship of London's 'Boris bikes' today, amid a spectacular row over its business practices.
Chief executive Bob Diamond is under intense pressure to resign after his bank was fined £290 million for attempting to manipulate the interbank lending rate Libor.
"I think this was an appalling choice in the first place," Green mayoral candidate Jenny Jones told politics.co.uk.
"They are not the sort of people we want to be associated with. It would have been good to set up smaller sponsors who were ethically in line with the concept."
The Barclay's sponsorship deal has many critics, not least due to the gap between the bank's contribution – just £50 million – and the extent of its brand's prominence, which can be seen across London as people use the cycling scheme.
According to campaigning website Mayor Watch, the £50 million has not even been paid yet and there is no information as to when the instalments are due.
"It was cheap, cheap deal for such amazing advertising," Jones said.
"It was a bad business decision on the part of Boris. It was incomprehension about how important the bike scheme was."
Johnson's response to the Barclay's row has been unpredictable. Last night he said he did not want to see "pointless persecution" of the bank, but this morning he accused it of "very dodgy practice" which was "almost certainly criminal"
Transport for London (TfL) told London Assembly members earlier this year that it could break a sponsorship deal if it was harming its image, but that it would not deal with a company where this was "a conceivable possibility”.
Last night the mayor said the bank could contribute another £50 million in sponsorship to make up for the row.
The Mayor's office could not be reached for comment this morning.
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