Boris Johnson set a very useful precident with his treatment of Ian Clement's abuse of expenses. If you do not declare them accurately, you get the sack.
The Barnet Eye has uncovered a rather alarming discrepancy in Brian Coleman's declaration of his expenses. Boris knows what he must do now. Let me explain.
The Barnet Eye has a very useful rule. If you tell porkies and we find out, we tell the world. Brian Coleman told his closest friends in the Barnet Conservative Party that I'd been monstrously unfair to him regarding my blog last November about his Free Dinner register. Brian told his friends that I'd cruelly misrepresented the fact that he declared everything possible on his GLA register (even a pair of cheap cufflinks) whilst some of his colleagues were less transparent in their declarations. How has Brian Coleman acted since I ran the blog?
I recently followed up the story with an update detailing all of the free dinners since then. In the course of researching the blog, I found that the Tory Troll blog had uncovered an entirely different set of free dinners, not covered by the GLA list. This list was solely devoted to the free dinners Brian Coleman had as a result of his membership of the London Fire and Emergancy Planning Authority (LFEPA). The full list of this hospitality is listed at the bottom of this blog. So you've got it so far. A free dinner list for GLA work (as detailed by me) and a free dinner list for LFEPA work (as detailed by the Troll). Now Brian Coleman has two expense accounts. One for business conducted for his role as a GLA member and one for business conducted as a LFEPA member. If Brian Coleman's work as chairman of the LFEPA demands that he goes to a free dinner, requiring a cab home on LFEPA expenses, then the dinner must appear in the LFEPA free dinner list. Dave Hill of the Guardian reported that Brian Coleman ran up a near £400 taxi bill on his LFEPA account attending the Lord Mayors Banquet on the 10th November 2008. This dinner does not appear in the LFEPA list below. It does however appear on original GLA list in my November 2008 Blog as :-
MEMBERS GLA EXPENSES - BRIAN COLEMAN
Lord Mayor's Banquet at the Guildhall
The Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of the Corporation of London
Brian Coleman has declared that his attendance of the Banquet was on GLA not LFEPA business. He claimed the cab on his LFEPA taxi account. This is the man who told everyone that he "scrupulously declared every event, even if it wasn't really relevant". So why did he do this. Could it be because he knew his GLA expenses would be published and we'd spot it? The LFEPA expenses were only divulged after a Freedom of Information request was lodged.
Boris Johnson promised honesty and transparency in his regime. Quite apart from the fact that expecting the Taxpayer to foot a £400 bill is grounds enough for sacking, to try and hide it in this way is clearly not on. Boris really has no choice. He appointed Brian Coleman to the LFEPA chairmanship, with it's huge salary for a part time job (around £25,000 pa). How has Brian Coleman repaid him, to use it as a free taxi service for his other job. I really can't see how he can avoid sacking Coleman now?
Brian Coleman's LFEPA declarations (from the Tory Troll Blog).
Councillor Brian Coleman (LFEPA Chair)
- Lunch on 27/9/07 provided by Deputy Fire Commissioner
- Dinner on 23/10/07 provided by Sir Ken Knight
- Lunch on 30/10/07 provided by Asset Co
- Lunch on 26/11/07 provided by James Flynn, LFEPA Head of Communications
- Dinner on 21/4/08 provided by Licensing Committee of the City of London Corporation
- Lunch on 28/5/08 provided by Mr David Cartwright
- Lunch on 2/7/08 provided by 4Ps
- Dinner on 2/7/08 provided by T-Systems (sister company of T-Mobile)
- Dinner on 17/7/08 provided by Sir Ken Knight
- Dinner on 23/7/08 provided by Mr John Shannon
- Lunch on 26/8/08 provided by Mr John Smith
- Dinner on 1/12/08 provided by Chief Fire & Rescue Adviser
- Harvey Nichols hamper provided by John Shannon Asset Co on 24/12/08
- Dinner on 19/1/09 provided by John Shannon