Thursday, January 31, 2008

London newsround up -- February 1st 2008

BNP muscle in on police pay demo

BRITISH National Party member Richard Barnbrook took advantage of an open invitation from the Police Federation to all candidates for London Mayor to join their pay protest two weeks ago Jan Berry, chair of the Police Federation, told a journalist that they had invited all the mayoral candidates to attend although Metin Enver, a spokesman for the Federation, told the Evening Standard that they had not invited Barnbrook.
Police and prison officers are not allowed to be members of the BNP so it was inappropriate for Barnbrook to be invited in the first place and allowed to march when he turned up, complete with his councillor’s badge on his chest to make him feel important.
Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate, did object to Barnbrook’s presence. A former senior Deputy Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police, Paddick said: “I felt very uncomfortable that there was someone from the BNP. I was aware of him being there and I pointed it out to Federation officials but there was nothing more that I could do. I was very uncomfortable that he was anywhere near me.”
Barnbrook came with a BNP television crew in tow to maximise the opportunity to hijack the police pay dispute to boost his mayoral campaign.

‘Flawed’ Tube privatisation

THE RMT transport union last week welcomed a damning report by MPs on the collapse of Tube consortium Metronet and the “flawed” part-privatisation of London Underground infrastructure. The report, by the House of Commons Transport Select Committee, said that the PPP model was “flawed”, that the “risk” taken by the private sector was exaggerated, and that the contractors had been free to walk away relatively unscathed, leaving the public to pay.
RMT urged the Government not to allow the consortium’s disastrous collapse to derail Tube upgrades essential to London’s economic future and the success of the 2012 Olympics.
The union also renewed its call for ministers to hasten the transfer of Metronet contracts back to the public sector in order to end the continuing waste of public money – and to complete the job by bringing Tube Lines’ contracts into the public sector too.
“The committee has done a great public service by finally nailing the myths about the PPP,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said.

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