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Walk-out claims denied

PUBLISHED: 15:44 25 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:19 24 August 2010

by Will Davies A top Tory has vehemently denied claims that he stormed out of a chamber during a crucial debate on crime. Less than a week after he was awarded an honorary doctorate for services to London, Brian Coleman, London Assembly m

by Will Davies

A top Tory has vehemently denied claims that he stormed out of a chamber during a crucial debate on crime.

Less than a week after he was awarded an honorary doctorate for services to London, Brian Coleman, London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden, was branded 'pathetic' after leaving a session of questions to deputy mayor Kit Malthouse on policing and crime.

Ed Fordham, prospective parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn was at the session, and is furious at Mr Coleman's behaviour.

He said: "I think he let down the Borough of Camden, I think he has proved the words of the local Conservative Party to be shallow and hollow, and shown himself to be ineffective and disinterested. It's poor form and it's poor representative democracy."

An irate Mr Coleman, pictured, told the Times: "This is simply not true. These accusations are just simple party politics and very revealing of people who can't raise their game to address the matters that concern Londoners."

He said he returned to his office within the GLA and watched the session on a live feed.

When asked whether he had appeared to represent his constituents appropriately, he put the phone down.

Policing is a major topic in Hampstead and Kilburn following the proposal to close Hampstead Police Station and reduce services at other stations to a central warehouse, as part of the Metropolitan Police Authority's estates strategy to close or relocate 60 stations in London.

The contentious strategy is seen by many politicians as badly handled, and after the consultation was suspended earlier this month the session was the first and only chance to discuss the issue in public with the deputy mayor responsible.

Mr Fordham said: "It was to my amazement that when police questions started he left. I sat open mouthed. He then returned as questions carried on but when Dee Doocey, Lib Dem GLA member, started questions on the Estates Strategy, he left the chamber again! Sorry Brian Coleman - it was embarrassing and given a chance to stand up and be counted - you failed."

Mr Fordham said Mr Coleman 'can't be trusted'.

He added: "When faced with the job he is elected and paid to perform for us - namely to hold officials and the administration to account for us - he chooses to have an empty chair. Pathetic! This has been the single biggest issue facing our local patch and yet our elected representative left the room."

Nicky Gavron, Labour Assembly Member, said: "Brian Coleman needs to get his priorities right. This was an important meeting at which Assembly members had the chance to quiz the person charged by the mayor with tackling knife crime and he decided to hide away up in his City Hall office. His constituents deserve a decent explanation."

Mr Coleman's fellow Tory assembly members fared little better, with not one of the party's 11 members asking a question on the estates strategy.

w.davies@archant.co.uk


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