Thursday, 18 March 2010

Tories hide disgraced councillor from camera crews

There were farcical scenes today as London Conservatives tried to hide a disgraced councillor from television news crews.

London Tonight and the BBC had both come to film suspended councillor Bertha Joseph as she voted in favour of Boris Johnson's plans for the Fire Authority.

However, the camera crews were ordered to leave at the "discretion" of the Chairman Brian Coleman.

Opposition members spoke up against the order, but were shouted down by Coleman, leading the Liberal Democrat group to walk out in protest.

Officials confirmed to me that crews had been allowed to film meetings before.

Despite this Brian Coleman refused to allow a vote on the issue.

Liberal Democrat Authority Member Caroline Pidgeon said after the meeting:

“The Tories want to hide their shameful secret from the public that today’s Budget was passed due to the support of Councillor Joseph – someone who has been found guilty of serious wrongdoing and is unable to act as a councillor in her own borough.

“This is simply wrong and the Liberal Democrats want no part of this. It brings the Authority and the Mayor into disrepute.”

“It is time that the Mayor took decisive action and sacked Bertha Joseph”.

However, the Mayor has repeatedly refused to sack her from his Fire Authority.

Today's budget meeting was his last opportunity to do so before the elections.

Boris wrote to Bertha two weeks ago today, giving her 14 days to respond.

However, even if Boris does choose to sack her now it would make little difference.

In order to get through his policies, he has given up his principles. Bertha Joseph was always expendable once that happened.

Any claim to have "cleaned up London politics" should now be treated with the scorn it deserves.

-Update- Bertha Joseph has now resigned:

A spokesperson for the Mayor said:

"Bertha Joseph has offered her resignation from the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and the Mayor has accepted it.

Councillor Joseph still disputes the complaint made against her but the Mayor believes the first tier tribunal made a compelling case against her continuing to serve on the authority.

The Mayor had allowed Ms Joseph two weeks to make her case to him, in the interests of natural justice and due process.

In the last hour, she has written to the Mayor to offer her resignation. As there are no more scheduled meetings of LFEPA until after the local elections and the authority is about to go into purdah, the Mayor will await the annual review of LFEPA membership in May before appointing a new member to the Board."

London Assembly Labour Leader Len Duvall said:

"You have to question the integrity and judgement of this mayor standing by someone who has been disgraced and banned from public office. It's not the first time one of the mayor's appointments has had to leave under a sleazy cloud but he could have done the right thing a lot sooner."

London Tonight and the BBC had damning reports:


carl said...

"Open and transparent.."

carl said...

"Open and transparent", I only saw the BBC report but it was a pretty tawdry affair. People sneaking out of back doors and all. Absolutely shameless.

AdamB said...

Yes it was a disgrace. Roger Evans was left to defend the indefensible whilst Brian went out the back door. Pitiful.

Pallas said...

One for Private Eyes Rotten Boroughs?

AdamB said...

Boris doesn't really appear in Private Eye any more for some reason. Not sure why.

Anthony said...

Boris Johnson and others have most certainly brought Gotham City type politics to London.

Anonymous said...

"Boris Johnson and others have most certainly brought Gotham City type politics to London."

Oh ! for a chief of the Metro Plods with the same sence of duty and integrity as Commisioner Gordon. Ooops. we had one but Boris forced him out.

And Boris. a piss poor impersonater of the Penguin.

Old Sailor

AdamB said...

Revealed: More evidence of Brian Coleman's tirades against a canteen worker:

Cllr James Powney said...

If the Tories are so ashamed of Bertha Joseph that they prevent pictures of themselves being seen in the same room as her, I would be surprised if they want her to stand as a Tory candidate in Kensal Green next May. Her opponents, such as myself, might draw the voters attention to her record.

AdamB said...

They would be crazy to let her stand again, although given the events of this past six months I wouldn't be surprised.

Navin Shah (Labour Assembly Member) Press release said...

“So finally, having helped her Tory masters to deliver London Fire Brigade’s budget for which she was financially rewarded the disgraced Cllr Ball Gown Bertha Joseph has departed. The hypocrisy of the Mayor and his Tories beggars belief. The delay
of some six months in sacking Cllr Joseph or demanding her resignation by the Mayor was never
about giving Cllr Joseph time to make her case because she did not have a leg to stand on. The
case was judged by Brent Council’s Standard Committee and the Appeals Tribunal for financial
irregularities and ball gown fame Cllr Joseph was found guilty of bringing Council and Public Office
into disrepute. The delay in taking swift action from the Mayor was about saving their political skin
at the London Fire Brigade and not saving reputation of public office. Having witnessed this
episode closely it’s evident that David Camroon and his party’s talk about cleaning up politics and
driving out sleaze is sheer humbug and hypocrisy. Not only London Mayor’s judgement is poor in
making appointments, he lacks transparency and credibility.”

Anthony said...

Message for Old Sailor ! Boris Johnson certainly replicates and impersonates The Joker to the letter. Lets not forget Boris Johnsons highly recommended Deputy Mayor Ray Lewis that turned out to have numerous allegations of criminality against him.If I recall correctly other senior Conservatives also highly recommended Ray Lewis and this demonstrates how worrying the situation has become.Im sure that there are more skeletons in the cupboard that are going to appear,hopefully sooner the better.Let us all see in the not to distant future what the outcome of Boris Johnsons policy of cutting back on Police numbers will bring to London!as any idiot will tell you that a City like London cannot afford less Police.Maybe a Gotham City is in the making.

carl said...

This was nicely buried in the Evening Standard. It was lead story on the website for about 20 minutes before being banished to depths with no link from the frontpage. A cynic might think City Hall had been on the phone but I'm sure the Standard doesn't bow to pressure.

One can only imagine the apoclyptic rage had Bertha Jospeh been called 'Lee Jasper'.

It's still there in the depths -

Boris' fan club has been hard at work in the comments section. Loletc