A Conservative member of Boris Johnson's fire authority today lost her appeal against a six month suspension from her council.
Bertha Joseph, who was once praised by Caroline Spelman for her "total integrity, honesty and courage" was suspended from Brent Council for six months last October.
The Council imposed the heaviest possible sanction after she was found to have used charitable donations to pay for ball gowns.
These sanctions were imposed following findings that Councillor Joseph failed to register within 28 days receipt of two gifts of cash amounting to £900, brought her office into disrepute by seeking and obtaining the cash for ‘sponsorship' of the Mayor's Ball which she used to buy clothes, and used her position as Mayor to gain an advantage for herself by obtaining the cash (for ‘sponsorship' in the context of the Mayor's Ball) which she used to buy items that were of personal benefit to her.
Despite this, Boris Johnson allowed her to continue working on the Fire Authority and even allowed for her to be promoted to the position of Deputy Chairman.
All members of LFEPA are appointed by the Mayor on a proportional basis.
Bertha Joseph holds the following positions on the fire authority:
- Deputy Chairman, (Ceremonial events and activities associated with Community Outreach)
- Vice-Chairman, Audit Committee
- Member, Finance, Procurement and Property Committee
Given his commitment to "cleaning up" London government, does the Mayor really believe that Bertha Joseph should continue in these roles?
"Now that the Tribunal has dismissed her appeal it is time For Cllr Bertha Joseph to show some decency and resign from LFEPA. If Cllr Joseph refuses to shift voluntarily I urge Conservative Leadership to sack her instantly.One person who can act swiftly is the Mayor of London. The Mayor has statutory powers to remove a member if the member is found unfit for the position she/he is appointed for. The Tribunal has now confirmed, beyond any doubt, the validity of severe verdict granted against Cllr Joseph by the Standards Committee of Brent. This is a strong enough evidence for the Mayor to exercise his powers and demonstrate that he is not prepared to prop-up anyone who fails to uphold the highest standard of conduct expected of elected members.So far Boris Johnson the Mayor of London, Cllr Bob Blackman and Cllr Brian Coleman’s record has been lamentable on this matter. Cllr Coleman Chair of LFEPA and his Tory colleagues have not only supported the disgraceful conduct of their member, but they’ve rewarded Cllr Joseph by handing out additional £12,000 a year from public purse and elevating her to the position of a Deputy Chair of the Fire Authority. At a time when public confidence in politicians is at an all time low, is this what public should expect from Conservatives? If London’s Mayor wants to maintain a shred of his already damaged anti-cronyism image, he knows Cllr Joseph has to go and he must act now."