Boris Johnson is to allow a disgraced Tory councillor to keep her position as Deputy Chair of the Fire Authority, despite losing her appeal against suspension.
Bertha Joseph was suspended from Brent Council for six months last October after she used charitable donations to buy a ball gown.
Shortly afterwards, Boris allowed Brian Coleman to promote her to the position of Deputy Chair of LFEPA.
Her appeal was cited as a justification within the Fire Authority. However, earlier this week Bertha lost that appeal.
Despite this, the Mayor today said that there was "nothing to prevent" her from continuing in her role.
A spokesperson for the Mayor said:
"All the legal advice received by LFEPA clearly show that there is nothing to prevent Bertha Joseph from serving on the LFEPA board. Under the leadership of Brian Coleman, the Fire Authority is undergoing the most radical modernising programme to date, which will bring into line working processes, quality of services and equality of opportunity expected of a 21st century organisation."
And here we get to the nub of the argument. Without Bertha and Labour defector Betty Evans-Jacas, Brian Coleman would lose his majority on the Fire Authority.
And without that majority, Brian would lose his chance to remove beds from fire stations, scrap current shift patterns, and build a diamond studded throne for the chair of the Fire Authority*
*Or something else, I forget
-Update- This story has now been picked up by BBC London the Harrow Observer and The Guardian. You read it here first
-Further Update- Firefighters confront Boris and Brian at the opening of Harold Hill fire station yesterday:
BBC London's report features Ballgown Bertha herself
It also features Boris pleading ignorance of the whole affair.
You can read the wider background to the dispute with the fire union here.
Relations have really deteriorated in recent weeks after the FBU's spokesman Paul Embery was suspended from the fire brigade following a public row with Brian Coleman,
The Bertha Joseph scandal has just added to that anger.
This was not the best time for Boris to be opening a fire station...