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Bertha’s future in the balance

PUBLISHED: 17:07 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 14:58 24 August 2010

A POLITICAL group has remained tight-lipped on whether they will field a disgraced politician as a candidate in the forthcoming council elections. Mystery surrounds the political future of Conservative Cllr Bertha Joseph after she was forced to quit her

A POLITICAL group has remained tight-lipped on whether they will field a disgraced politician as a candidate in the forthcoming council elections.

Mystery surrounds the political future of Conservative Cllr Bertha Joseph after she was forced to quit her influential role as the deputy chairwoman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) last week.

In light of her resignation, the Times contacted the Brent Central Conservative party (BCCP), which selects candidates, to find out whether she will be put forward in the May elections but they failed to return any calls.

The 53-year-old threw in the towel as the deadline approached for her to explain to Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, why she could keep her role following her suspension as a Tory councillor for the Kensal Green ward. Brent Council implemented the sanction against her after she spent £900 destined for two children's charities on ball gowns.

Ms Joseph, who has vehemently denied any wrong doing, was banned from her councillor roles for six months but held on to her role at the LFEPA and was subsequently promoted by the mayor despite her suspension.

The former Brent mayor is no stranger to controversy after she sensationally defected to the Conservative party from Labour in 2007.

The decision to keep Ms Joseph on LFEPA caused outrage among political opponents and union bosses who called for her to be sacked.

The fracas saw Mayor Johnson write to Ms Joseph giving her two weeks to explain why she should keep her position that comes with a basic annual allowance of £7,662 and an additional £12,042 for her deputy chairwoman role. Ms Joseph failed to respond, choosing to quit shortly after pushing through a half a billion pound budget for the LFEPA.

But, Ms Joseph's bumpy ride may not be over as the police are still investigating a complaint about her misappropriation of the charity funds by Cllr Ann John, leader of the Brent Labour group.

Calling for the Tories to dump Ms Joseph, Cllr John said: "She shouldn't be a candidate for a political party.

"She has been disgraced twice and resigned before she was pushed. The mayor can't sustain someone like her so the council shouldn't.

"We will be pressing for Bob Blackman (leader of the Brent Conservative Party) to make some sort of statement because he has been silent for far too long."

Cllr Blackman refused to comment referring the Times back to BCCP and Ms Joseph failed to return calls from us.

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