10 Days Remaining

Friday 11th
posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

A KEY watchdog official resigned yesterday in protest against Boris Johnson’s “dictatorial” decision to axe 13 fire engines.

London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority finance chairman Andrew Dismore, a Labour member of the London Assembly, said he was “not prepared” any longer to preside over the fire budget.

Mr Dismore said his alternative plan to restructure the crewing of fire engines, which was approved by the authority but overruled by Mr Johnson, “both balanced the books and ensured no loss of front-line fire engines.”

The 13 vehicles were originally taken away to form an scap contingent for use during the 2014-15 fire strikes over pensions.

They were due to return to their normal homes across the capital last summer, but Mr Johnson personally intervened to delay their return until after the agreement of the new budget.

In a stormy resignation statement, he hit out at Lib Dem and Green members for not “showing up to vote against” Mr Johnson’s intervention at the Fire Authority’s urgency committee on Wednesday night.

“In his typically most dictatorial and undemocratic way, the mayor has now seen fit to issue his edict to overrule the budget plan I prepared and which was approved by the people of London and Fire Authority.

“Let him and his Conservative cronies on the Fire Authority get on with implementing his Conservative cuts to our emergency services and let the people of London decide in the ballot box next May as to who has the best interests as to their safety really at heart.”

The axing of the 13 engines has been blamed for two fatal delays in response times.

In October north London pensioner Choi Yip jumped to his death as he waited for firefighters seven minutes behind schedule to arrive.

And 86-year-old Raymond Lister died last month as the brigade suffered a three-minute delay — in a borough which has lost three engines since 2014.

FBU London branch secretary Paul Embery said: “Andrew is very passionate about defending the safety of Londoners, and obviously feels extremely strongly about the decision of Boris Johnson to force through the removal of 13 fire engines.

“We absolutely share Andrew’s anger about this, and we feel that most Londoners absolutely share his anger too.”