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London Mayor Boris Johnson forces through 'reckless' fire service cuts

Fury as Tory orders lieutenant to sideline opposition to hated closures

Tory axeman Boris Johnson has bulldozed opposition to his deadly London fire service cuts after issuing a mayoral edict forcing them through.

The autocratic self-styled "buffoon" showed the icy-cold heart behind his media image by ordering his fire deputy to use his casting vote on the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority to smash massive opposition.

Plans for a court challenge to a "mayoral direction" commanding that 10 fire stations and 13 fire engines be axed were foiled after the authority's legal advisers said they were likely to lose.

In the end the authority did pass a motion calling on Mr Johnson to abandon his edict.

But Tory London Assembly group leader James Cleverly AM did his master's bidding to ensure that the plans were approved.

After the meeting Labour assembly fire spokeswoman Fiona Twycross AM said: "We are all deeply disappointed that Boris's cuts have now been forced through."

She explained: "The legal advice we received was categorical and clearly stated we had no legal basis to challenge the mayor in this way.

"If we had gone down this route then we would have spent a large amount of taxpayers' money fighting a futile battle."

She added that the motion still "offered the mayor a way out."

"Let's hope he finally listens to Londoners and drops his reckless plan."

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said if Mr Johnson didn't perform a U-turn on the cuts it would "lead to an increase in response times for four million Londoners.

"In a service where seconds really do count, this would inevitably cost lives."

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