London’s deputy mayor has resigned two months into his post amid claims of financial irregularities.
Ray Lewis faced allegations regarding his time as a vicar in east London in the late 1990s and head of a youth academy scheme in 2003.
It emerged he was placed under formal Church of England disciplinary measures between 1999 and 2005.
Mr Lewis, who had special responsibility for youth, described the claims as groundless and rubbish.
London Mayor Boris Johnson appointed Mr Lewis as one of several deputy mayors with special portfolios, such as business and policing.
Mr Lewis said: “I cannot allow the things going on around me to obscure the important business of this very important mayoralty and for that reason I must step down with immediate affect.
“London faces enormous challenges and I believed in all my heart that I was best placed to do that, but it’s important to get on with the business of this mayoralty without this business hanging over Boris’ head.
“Yet today again we learn of another murder and yet so much time and attention’s been given over to something that may or may not have happened 10-12 years ago, and of course you know that I flatly deny it.”
Mr Lewis resigned the same day Mr Johnson formally opened an independent inquiry into the allegations.
Martin Narey, the former chief of the Prison and Probation Service, will be heading the probe.
It is now unclear how the inquiry will progress.