An unholy alliance of Conservatives and Richard Barnbrook - the racist British National Party elected member of the Greater London Authority now serving as an "independent" - took place yesterday, preventing a debate on cyclist safety. A Green Party motion before the GLA related to the recent deaths of three cyclists in the past two months at Kings Cross and Bow and called on the Mayor to take urgent action on dangerous junctions.
We have also had our share of tragic cycle deaths, such as this one in Hammersmith, and this accident in July this year on Hammermsith roundabout underlined the danger posed to cyclists by dangerous drivers.
The Conservatives at the GLA, however, appear to be unmoved by all of this and decided to put party politics ahead of cyclists lives and stage their second walk-out in six months - along with the fascist Mr Barnbrook. This unsurprisingly prompted a large amount of comment, with Chief News Correspondent for the Evening Standard Ross Lydall headlining a blog post with the stark title "16 cyclists dead but Tories refuse to debate road safety".
As you can see from the video above the Conservatives apparently took issue with a mundane decision about committees and silently walked out in what you can see was a carefully pre-planned walkout - they and "independent" racist Member of the GLA Richard Barnbrook got up in unison and out they went, preventing any further business.
Underlining how this was pre-planned (and therefore done in the full knowledge that it would prevent the cycling safety motion) Tory Group Leader James Cleverley issued a statement within minutes of the walk-out, which said:
“Once again other parties on the Assembly have chosen to put petty party politics before properly representing the democratic view of Londoners by denying us fair and equitable chairmanship and deputy chairmanship on Assembly committees.”So we're asked to believe that this was far more important than doing something about the fact that cyclists keep getting killed on our roads. I'm sure that will go down well with the friends and families of those hurt.
The rest of the political groups united to condemn the Conservative/BNP walk-out. I'm told that the motion had the backing of Labour, the LibDems and Greens so would have been passed. Lib-Dem Assembly Member Mike Tuffrey said this:
"Today's childish actions by Conservative Assembly Members have thwarted a key debate on cycle safety taking place. Their actions are an insult to every cyclist in London as well as the democratic process."Hear hear.