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Fiona Twycross condemns “perverse” proposals to rig London Fire Authority


Fiona Twycross AM today condemned the Mayor of London for attempting to pack the London Fire Authority with political appointees. 

The Mayor is planning to remove two of the London Assembly Members and two of the councillors that currently sit on LFEPA, and replace them with four additional Mayoral Appointees, wiping out the majority that Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Greens hold on the Authority. Fiona Twycross AM today described the Mayor’s actions as “perverse”.

The Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Groups on the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) currently form a majority, but if proposed changes go ahead this will no longer be the case. If the current system was to be maintained, following Labour’s gains in this year’s local elections it would see an increase in its representation on LFEPA. The Mayor’s proposals would effectively prevent the results of this year’s local elections having any bearing on the make-up of LFEPA and would provide him with a majority.

In her response to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s consultation on the composition of LFEPA, which closes today, Fiona Twycross AM states:

  • The move has come as a response to the circumstances that led to Boris Johnson having to issue a ‘Mayoral Direction’ to drive through his decision to close ten fire stations last year, which LFEPA opposed.
  • By packing LFEPA with political appointees, the Authority would not reflect the political balance of London as it does now.
  • It is perfectly possible for political parties to work together consensually on the Authority, as happened during the 2000-2008 period.
  • I am willing to have a proper debate about the future of LFEPA, but the Mayor’s proposals are flawed – they are neither one thing nor the other and pose a real threat to democratic accountability.

Commenting on her submission, Fiona Twycross AM, London Assembly Labour Group Fire Spokesperson, said:

“This is a perverse move from Boris Johnson which I utterly condemn. The Fire Authority is there to act as a democratic check on the Mayor, and by packing it with political appointees so he holds a majority, Boris is riding roughshod over democracy.

“The Fire Authority consists of elected members who are accountable to Londoners, making transparent decisions in the interests of the capital. The Mayor’s plans jeopardise this important role and could potentially impact the safety of Londoners. At a time when all parties are looking at improving the link between the electorate and decision making bodies, it is crazy that Boris wants to get rid of elected politicians and replace them with his cronies.”

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