LONDON The London Assembly vowed on Wednesday to continue its investigation into accusations of the misuse of public funds following the resignation of a close aide of Mayor Ken Livingstone.
Lee Jasper, the mayor's race adviser, quit on Tuesday after the London Evening Standard published allegations surrounding intimate e-mails between himself and a woman involved with organisations which he had recommended receive more than 100,000 pounds of grants.
He said in his resignation letter that he wanted to put a stop to a "relentless" media campaign.
His departure came a day before he was due to appear before the assembly as part of its investigation into allegations over London Development Agency (LDA) grants.
The Chair of the London Assembly, Sally Hamwee, said in a statement: "The London Assembly is very disappointed that it will not have the opportunity to question Lee Jasper."
The Liberal Democrat member added: "This assembly will not be deflected from continuing to investigate whether London taxpayers' money has been properly and effectively spent.
"The assembly's investigation... raises real concerns about how this mayor uses his office and how some of his senior advisers conduct themselves."
Livingstone is running for a third term as mayor in elections on May 1 in a race against Boris Johnson, his Conservative rival. Opinion polls show them neck and neck.
The Evening Standard says millions of pounds of public money have been given in grants to community projects run by friends of Jasper, with little or nothing to show for the money.
The paper said Jasper had not declared the relationship with the woman to whom he sent the e-mails, as required by the Greater London Authority's (GLA) code of ethics.
The woman, Karen Chouhan, told the paper there was no impropriety in the payments and that the sexual content in the e-mails was just banter.
She represents The 1990 Trust, which promotes the interests of black communities and a director of the Black Londoners' Forum.
A GLA spokesman said Jasper had played a leading role in the authority's campaign against racism and black gun crime.
"No evidence has been presented for the criminal allegations presented by the Evening Standard," the spokesman said.
"However Lee Jasper has stated that in light of material published today that he has tendered his resignation.
"The mayor has accepted it."
Boris Johnson said the resignation was further proof that Livingstone "has had his day".
"Londoners deserve to know where their hard-earned cash has gone," he said.
(Additional reporting by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Steve Addison)
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