Tag Archives: brian coleman

Mike Tuffrey AM writes… The question I asked top London Tory: “Is there anything you would not privatise?”

“Is there anything you would not privatise?” That was the question I asked Brian Coleman, the controversial chair of London’s Fire Authority — a public body which sadly is in the grip of an ideologically-driven Conservative administration thanks to shameless gerrymandering by London’s Tory mayor Boris Johnson and unelected political appointees.

My question to him was prompted by the Tories’ current plans to privatise the London fire 999 emergency control room.

Mr Coleman’s answer? It was a bald and brazen “No”: there’s nothing he wouldn’t try to privatise if he could.

It’s true that in the London fire service …

Posted in London and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Even Boris Johnson is moved to criticise Brian Coleman’s latest expense claims

Even London Mayor Boris Johnson (a man not adverse to a generous claim or three for expenses) has been moved to criticise fellow Conservative Brian Coleman, whose latest expense claims for a London body attracted criticism a few days ago.

Boris Johnson said,

We have had a word with Brian and I think he understands this is a time for restraint in public spending all round.


Hat-tip: @BorisWatch

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Brian Coleman tops lists of expense claims, again

Conservative London Assembly member Brian Coleman has often been in the news over the years for his expense claims (not to mention his attempt to ban questions of himself), so I hesitate slightly to says it is “news” that new figures from the London Fire Brigade show him topping the list of expense claims:

Assembly Member
Brian Coleman April 2010 to March 2011 £3,480.20
Darren Johnson April 2010 to March 2011 £0.00
Gareth Bacon April 2010 to March 2011 £0.00
Mike Tuffrey April 2010 to March 2011 £0.00
Murad Qureshi April 2010

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Meanwhile, in other news…

Let’s start with some updates on stories we’ve previously covered here on The Voice.

Conservative London Assembly member Brian Coleman has backed down from his attempt to ban questions to him at London Fire Authority meetings.

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is to investigate the Daily Telegraph, following complaints from Tim Farron and others that the newspaper had gone on a fishing expedition rather than having the sort of public interest case which justifies journalistic subterfuge. On the substantive policy issue at stake, Ofcom look set to recommend that the Sky bid should be referred to the Competition …

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Brian Coleman: the secret shrinking violet

It’s not often that Conservative London Assembly Member Brian Coleman comes over as a shy, quiet, introverted man who likes to shun the public spotlight.

But I’m sure that’s why he is proposing to ban members of the London Fire Authority from asking him questions at future meetings. Nothing to do with wanting to avoid scrutiny for his actions, I’m sure.

Just as it was his shrinking violet nature that previously made him ban both questions and TV cameras from a meeting.

But a little unfortunate given the national Conservative Party’s frequent message about how important transparency and accountability is, don’t …

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Conservative politician accused of threatening charity

Adam Bienkov has the story which involves, surprise, Conservative London Assembly member Brian Coleman:

Boris Johnson’s fire chief was questioned by police this week after a woman accused him of a threatening and “intimidating” phone call.

Independent candidate Linda Edwards, who runs a charity linked to Barnet council claims Brian Coleman warned it would:

“suffer after the election” because of her candidacy and added it is “now open season for everyone to have a knock at you and The Larches will suffer…“After the call I felt he was trying to get me to pull out and not stand for the council. I

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How long can Boris Johnson carry on defending the indefensible?

Caroline Pidgeon is a Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member and member of the London Fire Emergency and Planning Authority (LFEPA)

Walking out of a meeting as a protest is something I would not normally recommend, but last week I felt had no other option and left a key budget meeting of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA). Both the Lib Dem leader on the Fire Authority, Councillor Ed Butcher from Haringey, and I knew we had to make a protest at the decision of the Conservative Chair Brian Coleman to prohibit TV cameras from filming the meeting, and Coleman’s decision to …

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Brian Coleman forced out of post in no-confidence vote

So reports Adam Bienkov:

Boris Johnson’s fire chief Brian Coleman has lost his position as Chairman of a National fire board after increasing concerns about his behaviour.

The LGA confirmed to me this morning that Brian is no longer Chairman of the National Organisation of Employers of Local Authority Fire & Rescue Services.

A spokesman said that Brian had lost his position but would not confirm the exact date or circumstances of his departure.

Brian himself has also failed to respond to my questions about this.

However sources within the National Joint Council tell me that Brian’s chairmanship was recently the subject of a vote

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Why I’m not celebrating over Brian Coleman

Highly controversial Conservative London Assembly Member Brian Coleman is in the news again, though this time it’s not for an outrageous expense claim or the like.

The Barnet Standards Board has ruled that he broke the rulesfor sending an email that called the blogger Roger Tichbourne “an obsessive, poisonous individual”.

I’m not exactly over-joyed at the outcome. Yes, Brian Coleman has once again behaved stupidly. Yes, he deserves criticism. But should such matters really be up for standards boards to rule on? I don’t think so. Let the actions of politicians be public and then let the voters or (if it’s …

Posted in Op-eds | 6 Comments

Brian Coleman was wined and dined before awarding contract

Such hospitality – it’s astounding!

Not only did Asset Co treat Brian Coleman (London Assembly Member and Chair of the London Fire Authority) to three dinners and a Harvey Nicks hamper before the LFA awarded it a £12 million contract – but also Mayor Boris Johnson continues to give him house room at City Hall.

After his huge taxi bills and refusal to publish his expenses at the same time as the other Assembly Members, Coleman has outstayed London’s welcome – but when will Boris do something about it?

Adam Bienkov at Tory Troll has the story:

The London Fire Authority have awarded

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Brian Coleman in “mad, bad and sad” expenses smokescreen

London Assembly Member Brian Coleman is refusing to publish details of his expenses, despite the Mayor, his advisors and the other 24 members of the Assembly agreeing to do so voluntarily.

Apparently a graduate of the Anthony Steen Charm School for Politicians, Coleman has blamed bloggers for being interested in how taxpayers’ money is spent:

“I won’t do it voluntarily. It’s none of the public’s business. They have coped well without knowing this kind of detail for more than 75 years. They are not entitled to drool over our personal lives. I’m not going to help the mad, bad and the

Posted in London and News | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments

Brian Coleman runs up another huge taxi bill

One of the oddities about London Assembly  Member Brian Coleman’s record in running up huge expenses bills (e.g. in one year he managed to run up more taxi bills than all the other 24 Assembly member added together) is the incredibly soft line that Boris Johnson has taken on them.

For all Mayor Johnson’s talk about value for money, clearing out dodgy practices and so on, his message to Brian Coleman has in effect pretty much been, “Carry on as you were”. Of course, the news about Boris’s own big taxi bills does help explain this. And so perhaps it …

Posted in London | Also tagged | 2 Comments

The latest goings on in Barnet

The Tories running the London Borough of Barnet do not appear to be reading from the same script as Mr Cameron when it comes to spending tax payers’ money. LDV has previously reported on some of the antics of new Barnet Mayor and London Assembly member Brian Coleman.

An update on the Not the Barnet Times blog would appear to indicate that Mike Freer, leader of Barnet Council and Tory PPC for Finchley and Golders Green, has some questions to answer as well.

It is interesting to note that the author of

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The LDV 2×2 Daily View (17/05/09)

Welcome to the first Sunday outing for The Voice’s new daily post series highlighting two big stories from the media and two “must read” blog posts from Liberal Democrats. As it’s a Sunday, there’s also a bonus extra supplement. If you spot anything for future posts, do let us know on [email protected]

2 Big Stories

Indian elections
The big election story of the week is India: massive democracy, increasingly influential in the world and located right next to some of the world’s trouble spots which most make their impact felt here in the UK.

The election results, which have been coming through on Saturday, are looking good for the Congress Party. Indian politics are sufficiently complex and different from the UK’s that for Liberal Democrats it isn’t a simple matter of cheering on one party in particular, but overall it looks like religious extremists are faring poorly. The BBC has an extensive write-up of news as it came in, including the person with a majority of over 350,000, the political analyst who commented that expert predictions turned out to be less accurate than astrologers, the Twittering candidate and links through to lots more detail.

Parliament and Labour in race to the bottom
It’s a tough call at the moment as to who is taking the worst battering: Parliament’s reputation or the Labour Party, who are plumbing new polling depths and now bumping along in the low 20s. There are stories aplenty in the Sunday papers, but the one I’d pick out is The Observer’s round-up as it contains perhaps the oddest comment from a Minister:

“This has been Gordon being too scrupulous: it’s not that he doesn’t get it, but he has felt you have to take parliament with you,”

Silly me, I thought he’d tried to bounce Parliament with his expenses reform proposals and had to pull key parts after it turned out hardly anyone supported them.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

Is our electoral system partly to blame?
Mark Reckons asks the question and does some analysis, concluding that the safer an MP’s seat, the more likely they are to have abused the system – and of course our electoral system means that many MPs have safe seats.

Our political system is still getting some things right
Meanwhile, Caron’s Musings rightly highlights that there is more to our political system than MPs’ expenses and lists some of the good things that MPs have done in the last week.

Sunday Bonus

For a bit of Sunday enjoyment, here’s a great spoof advert from last year’s American elections:

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Did Brian Coleman lie to his local newspaper?

Here’s the story from the Not The Barnet Times blog:

Yesterday, Not The Barnet Times broke the story that Mike Freer was wasting £10,000 of taxpayers money providing legal services for a councillor being investigated by the Standards Committee. The real scandal of this story was that the council’s insurers were willing to provide a lawyer at no cost to the taxpayer, but the councillor in question wanted one of the biggest London firms to act for him instead.

Our friends at The Barnet Times followed this up with an article of their own in which

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Opinion: There Is No Conservative Future in London

Politics and administration is a rather difficult game in major cities. Everything is much bigger- the budget, the numbers, but crucially, the problems faced on a daily basis by the millions and millions of people who you are ultimately responsible for. This means the need for coherent, meaningful policies – all directed towards a coherent, meaningful objective. When it comes to London this is vital if not essential, with the problems of an expanding population combined with the ever-chafing issues of housing, transport, planning, safety and the environment.

It has nearly been a year since we saw a certain Boris Johnson come to the helm with a slate of rather cheery-eyed Conservative members of the London Assembly, promising, in an almost messianic way, a brighter, better future for London, based on coherent policies (which he probably didn’t write) and proper leadership (which, according to Conservative Central Office, would come from unelected advisors).

So far, we have been treated to a year of farce, incompetence, dithering and sleaze, backed up with the right amount of cynical spin, and with minimal change. London has become a rudderless ship under Conservative rule; and we should not expect things to get any easier with the onset of economic hardship.

Boris Johnson’s slate of policies is now in shambles. He has failed to deliver on planning, engaging in contradictory actions on the issue of skyscrapers, much to the dismay of his Outer London base. He has failed to deliver on transport, cancelling for good any real investment in London’s infrastructure for the next 15 years save for marginal improvements on the London Overground and Crossrail – a project by the City and for the City that even they will no longer be able to pay for.

While it is not entirely under his remit, he has also decisively failed on the issue of ensuring London’s continued economic prosperity by doing precious little when it comes to regeneration. He refuses to put forward London’s case to central government, instead opting to dither before scoring petty political points when central government does nothing – all at the expense of ordinary Londoners and to his political gain.

The fact of the matter remains: there is no Conservative policy for London, there is no Conservative vision for London and there is no Conservative future for London.

Where there was once coherence, there is now contradiction. While Conservative-run local authorities from Westminster to Barnet pledge to lower living costs by bringing down or freezing the unjust Council Tax, the Conservative-run Greater London Authority does the opposite by slashing-and-burning investment funding while simultaneously raising transport costs.

The Mayoralty is now spinning around in a policy-free vacuum. Like the dying Labour administration in Westminster, they are not governing but are merely maintaining. What we are witnessing is the total collapse of policy in little over eleven months in office, an unprecedented failure in leadership, and the rise of obstruction, bluffing and uncertainty.

The Conservative Party in London seem to think they can abuse and misuse with impunity on the basis of their support from the bigoted cabal of men and women who run the Evening Standard. They claim they are going from ‘strength to strength’ – when in fact they seem to be going from hushed-up scandal to scandal – from Brian Coleman and his obsession with milking the taxpayer dry by way of Hackney Carriage to … Brian Coleman and the exploding boiler … and onwards to the Victoria Borwick Mailgate saga – the Tories seem to get away with actions that merit the full flog-and-shame routine that our media are well versed in dishing out.

Posted in London and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

Brian Coleman and road safety: Partingdale Lane update

Last year I blogged about the controversial road safety record of Conservative London Assembly Member Brian Coleman, he also of the exorbitant expense claims. One of the issues I highlighted was Partingdale Lane which had been closed to traffic on safety grounds:

He insisted on opening the road, had to think again after the courts ruled against the policy (with the judge directly criticising Brian Coleman’s behaviour), then saw £250,000 spent on safety measures, even after all that the road sees regular accidents though Brian Coleman claimed that residents had faked a

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What is it about London Conservatives and expenses?

London Conservative Assembly Member Brian Coleman’s huge expense claims are nearing the stuff of legend, hiss free travel card notwithstanding.* Even when the figures last year showed he had cut his taxi claims by a fifth, they still came in at over £8,000 in a year, compared with £685 on average for other London Assembly members.**

However, he is by no means alone when it comes to expense bills that, shall we say, don’t exactly leave the impression of someone taking care over taxpayers’ money.

Boris Johnson has a bit of form when it comes to

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Brian Coleman and large sums of money – again

The Evening Standard reports:

‘Marmite mayor’ with four different jobs earns £104,000 plus expenses
A leading London Tory at the centre of an expenses row is on a six-figure pay package funded by the taxpayer.

Brian Coleman will become Mayor of Barnet in May after he was nominated by fellow councillors – taking his annual pay for a variety of public roles to £104,503.50.

He is also a London Assembly member and chairman of the capital’s fire authority. As a council mayor, he will be able to claim thousands of pounds extra in expenses.

It comes after Mr Coleman was criticised for claiming £2,275 travel

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Boris Johnson’s taxi extravaganza: the case for the defence is, er…, weak

Last month I blogged about some of the extravagant costs run up by London Mayor Boris Johnson for one of his public meetings. Tory Troll’s more detailed story was picked by the Daily Mail, who in turn have flushed out a rather weak defence from Boris’s team.

I particularly like the reference to a 15 minutes bus ride, as if such a journey taken in west London in the middle of the evening is akin to expecting people to walk barefoot for 20 miles during the middle of the night. No it isn’t Boris, it’s what the rest of …

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Conservative Brian Coleman runs up big expenses, again

Tory Troll has the story:

Brian Coleman has almost tripled the amount of expenses he claims from the London Fire Authority, Tory Troll can reveal.

The figures released to this blog, show that the man Boris Johnson appointed to chair LFEPA claimed a whopping £2275 in ‘subsistence and travel’ between 1 April and 31 December 2008.

This is almost three times what he claimed between April and December the year before.

To put that into context, the other 25 members of LFEPA claimed just £1395 worth of expenses between them over the same period.

You can read the full post here.

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London Assembly: Lib Dems teach Tories a lesson on value for money

There was a certain tension among the Tories yesterday at Mayor’s Question Time in London: In a change to the usual format, the London Assembly were considering the Mayor’s Draft Budget.

Naturally, value for money was being debated, and who better to champion it than Conservative Assembly Member Brian Coleman, he of the expensive taxi habit.

He was keen to question the Mayor on value for money – Boris seemed surprised that this was coming from Coleman’s direction, so inserted a little put-down later on – when it came to the discussion on how to encourage an increase in cycling, …

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Brian Coleman’s record on road safety

Brian Coleman, a Conservative member of the London Assembly and Barnet councillor, is known for three things: his huge taxi bills claimed on expenses, his frequent controversial outbursts (such as here, here and here) and his dislike of road humps and other road safety measures. The first two get most of the attention, but how does his approach to road safety stack up?

First up: Partingdale Lane, where I’ll let Wikipedia do the talking as its piece (at the time of writing) has the detailed, sourced story:


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Fire Brigade Union: Brian Coleman was wrong

A footnote to yesterday’s post about Brian Coleman, who seems to think he knows better than the Fire Brigade about when people should call them – here is an extract from an email sent by the Fire Brigade Union to their London branches:

The FBU’s regional secretary for London, Joe MacVeigh, said, “Councillor Coleman needs to decide whether he wants to be a serious political figure or whether he wants to continue playing the role of complete buffoon. He holds a position of enormous responsibility, and he should be dignified and statesmanlike in everything he does. Instead, he blunders around, whipping

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Brian Coleman and his taxi bills

Conservative GLA member Brian Coleman has been in the news a bit today, criticising Lynne Featherstone for calling out the Fire Brigade when she feared that her boiler might be about to explode after it started making loud noises and shaking the house. Personally, that’s exactly what I’d do in the same circumstances, and indeed that’s what the Fire Brigade has said people should do.

But what really intrigues me about Brian Coleman’s attempt to score a political point (and he really should know better than rubbishing the Fire Brigade’s own advice, what with being chairman of the Fire Authority) is …

Posted in Conference and News | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

“Homophobic, bigoted old farts”: top Tory’s verdict on colleagues

From Pink News:

Conservative London Fire And Emergency Planning Authority chairman Brian Coleman has claimed that he has been passed over for a senior post due to homophobia by fellow Tories.

Mr Coleman, who is gay, claims that Local Government Association (LGA) Conservative group leader David Shakespeare promised to make him chair of the LGA fire services management committee, the Local Government Chronicle reports.

Mr Coleman, a Conservative London Assembly member and Barnet councillor, claims that he was then denied the post due to pressure on Mr Shakespeare by “bigoted” Tory councillors.

He said: “David Shakespeare said the job was mine but

Posted in News | 11 Comments

The Conservative with the £8,000 taxi bill

Good news! Conservative London Assembly member Brian Coleman has cut his taxi bill by a fifth.

Bad news! He’s still racking up over £8,000 a year in taxi fares that Londoners then have to pay for.

P.S. He also gets a free travelcard.

P.P.S. Average taxi bill run up by other London Assembly members in the same period: £685.

Posted in News | 7 Comments

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