The Scoop

Boris Johnson's fire chief spends £1000 on lunch for Tory chums

Adam Bienkov | Thursday 3 May, 2012 06:46

The man Boris Johnson charged with making huge cuts to London’s Fire Brigade has been slammed for spending thousands of pounds of taxpayers money on lunches for his chums.

The Tory Chairman of the London Fire Authority Brian Coleman, splashed almost £1000 this March on a three course meal, wine and flowers for a group of his fellow London Tories.

Guests included the Tory head of the Local Government Association Sir Merrick Cockell, Tory London Assembly Member Richard Tracey, Brian Coleman himself and another Mayoral appointee.

Waiters served the politicians crab and avocado salad with lemon mayonnaise, chicken served with date and apple stuffing, lemon tart with raspberry coulis and bottles of Neblina Sauvignon Blanc.

The lavish lunch for his fellow Tories was held in the same building as London’s Fire Brigade museum which Coleman has threatened with closure.

Last year Coleman, who is one of the highest paid councillors in the country, spent a further £2000 of taxpayers cash on a retirement meal for one of his colleagues.

Two years ago he was heavily criticised after it emerged that he had accepted a number of lunches and a £350 hamper from the boss of a company later awarded a multi million pound contract by the fire brigade.

A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade Union said: “It is hugely dispiriting when firefighters see their bosses frittering away large sums of money on slap-up lunches for their political chums. We’ll remember incidents like this the next time they come demanding more cutbacks.”

Labour’s Murad Qureshi said: “Boris Johnson must now justify such expenditure in these austere times when councils and fire authorities have had to make tens of millions of cuts to their services. We are clearly not all in it together.”

When asked at a recent meeting how much the meal had cost, Brian Coleman claimed that he had “not seen the bill.” He added that “I was a little disappointed that Labour Members were not able to attend the lunch, where we fully briefed [Sir Merrick] on a number of very relevant issues.”

A shorter version of this story appears in today’s Daily Mirror

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