Councillor Fred Walker today resigned as chairman of the Greater Manchester fire authority, following claims over expenses.

Cllr Walker was accused of claiming three years of expenses - totalling £20,000 - in one go. The expenses claim included 'scores' of train trips to London, some costing as much as £345, the Manchester Evening News claimed.

In a statement confirming his resignation, Cllr Walker said:

"I have today notified my Labour colleagues on the Fire Authority of my decision to stand down as chair.

"This will take effect from the next meeting of the Authority on September 8 to will allow an orderly transition and also make sure that all Labour members including many who are on holiday during August are involved in the election of my replacement.

"It is clear that my late submission in October 2010 of my expenses for the period April 2008 to October 2010 has created a loss of confidence in me from AGMA Leaders.

"And, because a good working relationship between AGMA and the Fire Authority is essential for Greater Manchester, especially in a period of unprecedented civil unrest, I am stepping aside to allow a re-focusing on the big issues of the day.

"I must emphasise that our firefighters and officers have reacted magnificently during the riots and I was pleased to personally visit and thank Green Watch Salford Fire Station in particular before they finished their tour of duty.

"I have loved my involvement with the Fire Service for the past 25 years and am extremely proud of everything we have achieved during that time. I will continue to support the work as an active member of the Fire Authority - and in particular representing people in Wigan - in any way that I am able.

"I would like to take this opportunity to wish my successor every success and will, of course, be supporting the new chair every step of the way, as we face unprecedented times in coming years."


Posted August 16 2011 at 1550 by Phil. Comment by emailing: