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Reckless mayor puts our lives at risk as fire stations are axed

Johnson warned to halt dangerous cuts to vital services – or have blood on his hands

Ruthless toff Boris Johnson has been warned by firefighters that he will have "blood on his hands" if he goes ahead with cuts to fire stations in London.

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) issued the warning and highlighted that three out of the eight fire stations which sent engines to the Apollo Theatre ceiling collapse in the West End on Thursday are among the 10 stations due to close.

FBU called on Mayor Johnson to reconsider his decision yesterday, at the same time as the announcement that seven local councils have lost their High Court bid to block the cuts.

Mr Justice Foskett, sitting in London, rejected the councils' claim that the mayor's plans were legally flawed.

Among the eight fire stations that sent engines to the Apollo, where more than 70 people were injured - seven seriously - were those at Westminster, Knightsbridge and Southwark stations. All are earmarked for closure on January 9 2014.

The judge had been told that the proposals, which involve the loss of more than 552 firefighter posts and the axing of 14 engines, would be "reckless, wrong and will seriously endanger lives."

But he ruled the process by which the closure decision was reached was lawful.

The application for judicial review was brought by the borough councils of Islington, Camden, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Lewisham and Greenwich.

The eighth claimant was Ms Ingrid Richardson, who lives with her husband on the seventh floor of a 15-storey apartment block in Southwark.

She is housebound, moves about with a walking frame, has severe Parkinson's Disease and her husband suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

Ms Richardson was added as a claimant to highlight and illustrate what campaigners say is the likely increased danger from fire risk the older and disabled residents in the capital are likely to face because of the cuts.

FBU has fought the proposed closures, which are part of a drive to save £28.8 million and have led to demonstrations across London.

Reacting to the court's decision, the union's London secretary Paul Embery said: "The Apollo Theatre collapse demonstrates how dependent the safety of Londoners is on the stations that Boris Johnson intends to close.

"If the cuts go ahead, the mayor will end up with blood on his hands. It will only be a matter of time before someone dies as a result of a fire engine failing to reach them in time."

The seven councils had confirmed they will not appeal which means the cuts will take affect early in the new year.

Labour London Assembly and Fire Authority member Fiona Twycross said: "We are deeply disappointed at this decision.

"This will lead to significantly increased response times to incidents across London.

"This is a grim new year's present for people across our city. Boris should be thoroughly ashamed of himself."


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