Page last updated at 10:42 GMT, Thursday, 11 February 2010

Mayor of London 'must sack' shamed Bertha Joseph

Bertha Joseph
Councillor Joseph has been suspended for six months

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has been urged to sack a member of London's Fire Authority after she was suspended from her council for financial impropriety.

The call has been made after Councillor Bertha Joseph of Brent Council lost an appeal on Tuesday against a six month suspension from her local authority.

Following the ruling, Labour Assembly Member Navin Shah said Mr Boris Johnson should "sack her instantly".

Mr Johnson's spokeswoman said there was no legal reason she must resign.

The suspension was imposed after Ms Joseph - who has not commented on the resignation call - failed to declare two cash gifts totalling £900 within the 28 day limit.

At a time when public confidence in politicians is at an all time low, is this what public should expect?
Navin Shah AM

She was also censured for bringing her office into disrepute, by obtaining cash to "sponsor" a Mayor's Ball that she subsequently spent on a dress for herself.

Mr Johnson has allowed her to continue working on the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) and recently promoted her to the position of deputy chairwoman.

The position commands a £12,000 annual allowance.

Mr Shah AM said: "Now the tribunal has dismissed her appeal it is time for Councillor Joseph to show some decency and resign from the LFEPA.

"If Councillor Joseph refuses to shift voluntarily I urge Conservative leadership to sack her instantly."

'Lamentable record'

He continued: "The mayor has statutory powers to remove a member if the member is found unfit for the position she is appointed for.

"So far Boris Johnson's record has been lamentable on this matter.

"At a time when public confidence in politicians is at an all time low, is this what public should expect?"

If Ms Joseph, who was mayor of Brent in 1998 and 2006, was replaced the Conservatives could lose the balance of power on the LFEPA.

A spokeswoman for the Mayor of London said: "The legal advice clearly shows there is nothing to prevent Bertha Joseph from serving on the board.

"The authority is undergoing the most radical modernising programme to date, which will bring into line the quality of services expected of a 21st century organisation."

Ms Joseph, who was once praised by Caroline Spelman MP for her "total integrity, honesty and courage", was not available to comment.

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