Brian Coleman, a Conservative member of the London Assembly, wrote the following letter on Wednesday to the Chairman, Baroness Doocey, a Lib Dem London Assembly member, criticising the way the meetings have been conducted.
I was extremely disappointed this morning with your management of the budget question time. What should have been one of the showcase Assembly meetings of the year, being carried live on BBC Parliament channel, turned into a ill-mannered, badly chaired shambles. From the outset of the meeting your half hearted apology to Andrew Boff through to your muddled handling of the final votes showed a lack of control and understanding of the process.
As a former Chairman of the Assembly it is in my view absolutely vital that the Chairman remains consistent, and in your handling of John Biggs you were not. At one stage you voted that he not been heard, only to vote completely the opposite way half an hour later. Your application of Standing Orders was inconsistent, and your rudeness to the Mayor unacceptable.
I am sure I do not need to remind you that the role of Chairman of the Assembly should be to defend the rules and standing orders of Assembly business, and apply those rules and Standing Orders in an unbiased manner. Your tenure throughout the year has failed to adhere to these basic standards, which in my opinion has reflected poorly on the office itself. If the Assembly is to be taken seriously, we need to ensure that the process is right and proper, and the conduct of all Members is professional.
When there are breaches, such as the incident of John Biggs calling the Mayor a liar, Standing Orders must be enforced. When they are not, it is a discourtesy to the Mayor and Members.
I hope you will consider how, for the remainder of your term of office, you conduct Assembly business to ensure that meetings are run properly, and treatment of members is fair.