Controversial Coleman praises firefighters for work during London riots

Brian Coleman, the outspoken chairman of the London Fire Authority, has heaped praise on firefighters for their “dedication and absolute professionalism” during the riots.

Mr Coleman sparked controversy in November last year when he called bosses of the Fire Brigades Union “a thoroughly unpleasant and nasty lot,” in an interview with the Ham&High.

He was involved in talks with FBU at the time, over changes to staff rotas – which led to two strikes.

In the interview he stressed that “the vast majority of firefighters were entirely, on a one-to-one level, decent and pleasant individuals.”

But he said that most of the union officials were “thick”.

However, on Tuesday Mr Coleman was full of admiration for the courageous way in which firefighters tackled blazes across the capital.

The London Fire Brigade’s 999 control centre answered 2,169 calls between 6pm on Monday night and 7.19am on Tuesday. This is around 15 times more than the normal rate. Brian Coleman, who is also a Barnet councillor, said: “Our staff worked throughout the night and have shown nothing but dedication and absolute professionalism. They are a credit to the London Fire Brigade and a credit to the whole of London.”