Cllr. Liaquat Ali: an update

In the last couple of days, both Private Eye (‘Haq Attack’, see below) and the Waltham Forest Guardian have published versions of the Ali-Haq story.

It is notable that the latter does not mention Senator Haq’s rantings about ‘Jews and Christians’, spineless journalism at its worst.

Meanwhile, a rumour going round the Town Hall is that Mayor Khan has declined to re-appoint Cllr. Ali to the London Fire Authority (LFA), despite Cllr. Robbins’ recommendation.

If this is true, the LFA will have to soldier on without Cllr. Ali’s notable expertise, always so eloquently delivered.

However, at least the public purse seems set to gain.

For it turns out that Cllr. Ali’s expense claims at the LFA have stood out like the proverbial sore thumb:

Year

Expenses claimed by Cllr. Ali (£s) Average expenses claimed by the other Assembly and Borough members (£s)

2009-10

982

523

2010-11

65

345

2011-12

837

465

2012-13

785

201

2013-14

1809

104

2014-15

1340

142

2015-16 841

153

Source: http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/MembersExpenses.asp

Of course, no impropriety is alleged: if such remuneration is offered, then Cllr. Ali has every right to claim it.

Nevertheless, it is reasonable to ask whether ‘Hotel accommodation to attend LGA Annual Fire Conference and Exhibition 10-11 March 2015 at Newcastle’ costing £571.70, to take one example, really represents value for money.

After all a good number of LFA members managed to survive during these years without claiming expenses at all.

And it was not as if any of them were strapped for cash, because (regardless of expenses) all members anyway receive a basic annual allowance (which today stands at £7,750) plus add-ons for responsibility.

It will be interesting to get a Fire Brigades Union perspective on all of this.

PE on Ali

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