Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has agreed to appoint the London Councils nominations to the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority on a temporary basis until August amidst accusations of unlawful behaviour on the part of both the Mayor and London Councils.
A statement issued yesterday by Mr Livingstone’s office says the Mayor has “received legal advice that there were strong grounds for concern about whether London’s councils had carried out their statutory duties to promote equality and avoid discrimination in the nominations”.
Earlier this week in an email to party members Mike Tuffrey, Leader of the London Assembly Liberal Democrat Group accused the Mayor of launching “an extraordinary attack on the independence” of the LFEPA.
Mr Tuffrey said the Mayor was “seeking to remove his political opponents. He is trying to block the reappointment of all Liberal Democrat members and all bar one Conservative, while allowing Labour names to proceed. This would have given Labour a majority at the Authority’s AGM due on Thursday (21 June). Yesterday counsel separately acting for both the Greater London Authority and Lfepa advised that this is unlawful.”
Mr Livingstone has written to the Leader of London Councils requiring detailed information on how the nominations were arrived at and to demonstrate how the councils have complied with their legal duties. He has set a deadline for them to do so by limiting the term of appointments of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat nominees from London Councils until the end of August.
Speaking yesterday the Mayor said “for a long time now I have been asking the Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups to come up with nominations to this important public body that would provide a better reflection of London’s diversity and to increase from zero their nomination of black and Asian people.”
“There are eighty black and Asian Conservative and Liberal Democrat Councillors in London – the argument that none are qualified to serve on the Fire Authority has no credibility.”
The Mayor yesterday advised the London Assembly he had appointed an additional woman Assembly Member, Angie Bray, to replace one of those nominated by the Conservative Assembly group taking the number of female Assembly Members on the Authority to two.
The appointees from the Assembly will now be: Val Shawcross (Lab, also appointed as Chair); Murad Qureshi (Lab); Darren Johnson (Green); Peter Hulme-Cross (One London); Brian Coleman (Con); Angie Bray (Con); and Roger Evans (Con).
The appointments ensure that the LFEPA meeting for today (Thursday 21st June) can go-ahead. It is due to address the recent call by the Mayor to pay contract cleaners at the London Living wage rate of £7.20.