Monday, 10 January 2011

Brian Coleman slaps "gagging order" on opponents

Boris Johnson's fire chief Brian Coleman has been accused of trying to slap a "gagging order" on his political opponents.

Coleman, who has been charged with implementing a range of controversial cuts to the fire service, has called an "extraordinary meeting" of the Fire Authority this Thursday.

At the meeting members will receive a report on:

"a proposal from Chairman and Leader [Coleman] to revise the Standing Orders of the Authority in order to cease the practice of Members of the Authority putting questions to the Chairman and Leader of the Authority."

A spokesman for the Fire Brigade declined a request to explain or comment upon on the proposal, saying that the full report would be published later today.

-Update- The full report has now been published. It claims that:

"LFEPA is an executive board, not a scrutiny body"

Before adding that:

"There is no statutory requirement for question time. The Authority may therefore decide to remove Standing Order 21 [allowing questions to the Chairman]."

Leader of the Labour group Navin Shah described the proposal as a "draconian measure" and added that:

"The contempt and arrogance shown by Councillor Coleman and his cronies in proposing this gagging order is a shameful and blatant attack on the basic right of elected Members to be heard in the public domain."

Last year Coleman hit the headlines after ejecting two camera crews from a public meeting in which disgraced councillor Bertha Joseph was used to vote through his budget:

Coleman has also previously reduced the number of questions members are allowed to ask and removed their right to bring delegations to meetings.

However, this move would constitute a far greater attack on democratic procedures at the Fire Authority.

I will update this post as and when the full report is published. Now published. See above

-Update- Green Party London Assembly Member Darren Johnson claims Brian had threatened to ban questions if he asked a question about injured firefighters:

"Prior to the last Fire Authority Meeting Brian Coleman rang me up and threatened to abolish Members' Questions at meetings altogether if I went ahead with a question about injuries sustained by picketing firefighters during the recent dispute. His autocratic behaviour is just incredible. Being able to table questions is an important part of the democratic process and it is just incredible that anyone would want to remove this right."

Lib Dem leader on LFEPA Cllr Terry Stacy said today:

"Mayor Boris Johnson and London Borough Council leaders across the city have to face an open public question time on what they are doing with public money.  But Brian Coleman wants to put himself beyond questioning and silence any opposition.  If he gets his way opposition groups will have no way to get concerns about how he is handling London’s fire service onto LFEPA’s agenda."


Anonymous said...

Why should Brian face questions? He is omnipotent! The fact that the public pay a fortune towards his allowances is irrelevent. On a serious note, while people keeping voting for him he will keep acting in this way. What I do not understand is why people keep voting for him.

Mr Reasonable

paul said...

when will the public wake up to this nasty little man ?
Coleman seems hell bent on destroying everything the decent councilors and FBU have done to create one of the best fire service's in the world.
Sack Coleman now Boris !

Anonymous said...

I am reliably told that Brian Coleman has become such a puffed up parody of himself that he banned himself from asking questions of himself!

Anonymous said...

Brian Coleman is untouchable.In addition to this, he is an important asset to the Conservative Party and all that they stand for. Only a miracle will remove Brian Coleman because he has Boris Johnson's and the Conservative Party's total support and dont forget that!

Barry Rochford said...

What was it Boris said about transparency? Is there anything his administration does that is more evident in the public eye and more subject to scrutiny than the last administration? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Brian Coleman is a disgrace to the people who voted him in to his position the only good thing is that believe me when i say what goes round comes round so brace youself Mr Coleman yours must be on its way

Anonymous said...

Brian Coleman is an arrogant bully and a liar. He is universally despised by London firefighters and many members of the public.He has continually brought his office into disrepute and in the process dragged London's fire brigade into the mire. His gerrymandering of LFEPA stands as testament to his anti democratic politics and his lies about the attacks on firefighters' conditions not being linked to cuts in fire cover (which is demonstrably untrue) shows that he is a self serving charlatan. The fact that Boris Johnson allows him to continue shows what the blond buffoon is all about. Tory cuts, Tory lies and Tory attacks against working class people and the services we depend on. We should all make the TUC march against the cuts in March as big as possible. In the meantime here's to Brian Coleman getting his just deserts - somewhere, sometime soon.