Fire Service (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
January 30, 2013
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Andrew Dismore (AM): Let us look at some real incidents. You have referred to the Commissioner's proposals but of course they are within the constraints of the budget you have set for him rather than letting him use his free will, but let us look at some real incidents

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No, actually --

Andrew Dismore (AM): Let me ask the question. I have not asked the question yet.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Well I think you need to stop talking rubbish.

Darren Johnson (Deputy Chair): No, let the Assembly Member ask the question and then you can answer it.

Andrew Dismore (AM): Let us look at some real incidents this month. The helicopter crash; first attendance was from Clapham - up for closure. The associated crane incident; first attendance Clerkenwell - up for closure. Chelsea second pump - up for removal. Two days later the Victoria Station fire, Westminster Knightsbridge - both up for closure. Big fire in Bayswater, Chelsea's second pump, Knightsbridge Bow - up for closure. Big fire in Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Westminster, first attendance - fire stations up for closure. Fulham, Chelsea's second pump - up for closure. These are real fires this month where those fires will have a lesser attendance as a result of your cuts, the cuts that you intend to impose. How can that not be jeopardising the people of London?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Fire Service (Supplementary) [2]

Answer for Fire Service (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Well I am afraid you are talking utter nonsense.

Andrew Dismore (AM): Those are figures from the Commissioner's own paper.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): You are entitled to shout and go red in the face.

Andrew Dismore (AM): You prayed the Commissioner in aid. I am giving you the Commissioner's response.

Darren Johnson (Deputy Chair): Mr Dismore, if you can let the Mayor answer your question now.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): You are entitled to lose your rag and, shamefully, you are entitled to make political capital out of a subject that I think requires grown up consideration. The reality is that in all of those cases response times were fantastic and they would have been within the six minutes under any circumstances, and indeed within the eight minutes as well. Obviously it is difficult to put this strongly enough, but it is very difficult for me to prefer the patently politically motivated attacks on a plan to the very honest, sober and realistic assessment by Fire Brigade professionals about what they can achieve.

I am afraid I do not think you are right in saying that this is motivated solely by budgetary considerations. If you talk to Ron [Dobson] and the people who really care about the Fire Brigade, they believe in getting the best bang for their buck. They believe in getting the best possible service. We will be making further reforms and I am sure you will be having further conversations with James Cleverly when you all come to your senses on LFEPA on ways of improving response times with a variety of different machines so that actually we do better and better in London. That is the way forward.

Andrew Dismore (AM): The Mayor has just said it is not about money but he wants to cut 1p a day off the council tax to pay for these cuts.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Nonsense.

Andrew Dismore (AM): However, in the original LSP5 document it says, 'Maximises the potential for generating income from station closures.' It is all about flogging off the real estate. The fact remains those examples I gave actually came from the Commissioner's own report to the LFEPA authority ten days ago, although the Mayor has yet to act on it. In Camden --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Now be very careful here. Are you saying that the Commissioner --

Andrew Dismore (AM): In Camden, in my constituency --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Has the Commissioner told you --

Andrew Dismore (AM): -- we will see 45 seconds longer attendance times --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): -- that those response times would have been worse if they --

Andrew Dismore (AM): -- than we have now. For your friends in Westminster who oppose you; 41 seconds longer attendance times. You are taking away the fire station that serves Downing Street. I know you want to be there one day. Buckingham Palace, I do not suppose you want to be there but you never know. The Houses of Parliament where we have had 40 fires in the last 4 years. You are like Guy Fawkes aren't you? You want to burn down the Houses of Parliament by taking away Westminster's fire station. The fact remains these cuts are going to jeopardise the people of London and you do not care about it.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): What was the question?

Roger Evans (AM): Are you Guy Fawkes?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No. The serious answer, Andrew - tempted though we all are sometimes to want to destroy the House of Commons or to blow up Parliament - the reforms being put in place would do absolutely nothing to put that place or indeed any other place in Westminster at greater risk, nor would they have that affect in any of the other boroughs. The benefit of these reforms is that they maximise the use of resources and they enable us to bring more Londoners and more boroughs within the target response times. Actually I think Barnet, am I right in thinking Barnet does rather well out of this? Thank you. I mean maybe we should tell the people of Barnet, whom you purport to represent, that you are actually opposing a plan that would bring --

Andrew Dismore (AM): Point of order, Chair.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Or maybe you are not opposing it. Are you now in favour of it? Have you withdrawn your opposition?

Andrew Dismore (AM): Point of order, Chair.

Darren Johnson (Deputy Chair): Is this is a point of personal explanation?

Andrew Dismore (AM): Yes.

Darren Johnson (Deputy Chair): Right, a point of personal explanation from Mr Dismore.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Does he not represent Barnet? Maybe he does not represent Barnet.

Andrew Dismore (AM): Thank you, Chair.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Who do you represent?

Andrew Dismore (AM): The Mayor has just repeated an allegation which Mr Boff put on his website, which I am pleased to say he has had to apologise for publicly, to me, for making that allegation because I did not oppose the improvement in response times for the fire engines at Hendon Fire Station. In fact I supported it. Mr Boff has apologised publicly for alleging otherwise --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): What has Mr Boff said?

Andrew Dismore (AM): -- and you have just done the same.

Roger Evans (AM): Well Mr Dismore has a very strange way of supporting something, Chair.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I think he is either for it or against it and he cannot work out which. That is why they did not take a decision, isn't it.