COUNCIL OPPOSITION LEADER “NOT A SOLICITOR” – Cllr Tim Briggs denies Gipsy Hill councillor’s claims
SENSATIONAL CLAIMS that Lambeth council opposition leader Cllr Tim Briggs is NOT a solicitor were made at last night’s full council meeting.
The public accusation – vehemently denied by Cllr Briggs – was made by Gipsy Hill ward Cllr Matthew Bennett who is Lambeth’s cabinet member for housing.
It came after exchanges on whether or not free legal advice had been offered to people living on the Westbury estate, Wandsworth Road one of the ‘selected six’ estates Labour councilors want to demolish as part of their hugely controversial ‘regeneration’ plans.
Cllr Bennett told the full council meeting in Elm Green school, West Norwood: “Legal advice is something very close to Cllr Briggs heart and his wallet as owner of a firm of eviction specialists.
“Tim Briggs is a solicitor. “You can imagine my surprise that if I consulted the Law Society, Tim Briggs is not a solicitor.
“It’s illegal to call yourself a solicitor when you’re not.
“We will make sure residents receive free legal advice from qualified solicitors so you will not be eligible. “You might want to stop pretending to be a solicitor – and with charges coming you will need one.”
Cllr Briggs told the Mayor, Cllr Saleha Jaffer: “There has been an allegation that I lied, that I’m not a solicitor. “I do have a practicing certificate and I look forward to your (Cllr Bennett) apology.”
At the close of the meeting Cllr Briggs told News From Crystal Palace: “I’ll be sending the chief executive my practicing certificate tomorrow and I’ll be expecting an apology from Matthew Bennett.
“Matthew Bennett persists in trying to smear and denigrate my character. “He’s basically calling me a liar. “I find it astonishing he didn’t check his facts.”
EARLIER in the meeting Cllr Briggs had lampooned Cllr Bennett and two other Labour councilors. He said he had heard rumours that because of mistakes and failures of the Labour administration that the council leader (Cllr Lib Peck) would be in danger of losing her job.
He said: “Some of the candidates, in a light-hearted way:
Matthew Bennett – might take over – “the great listening ear blocked with the earwax of ambition”
Cllr Alex Bigham – with his love of Twitter (Cllr Bigham infamously posted a photo of a yawning cat on Twitter in response to library campaigners criticisms – Ed.) and Cllr Ed Davie – who has just been nominated for an award.” (Metropolitan borough councillor of the year – Ed.)
Today (Thursday) Cllr Briggs told News From Crystal Palace: “I am definitely a solicitor with a practising certificate – I checked this morning…!”
Today (Friday) the Solicitors Regulation Authority told News From Crystal Palace: “Timothy Peter Briggs is very much a solicitor, and was admitted to the profession on May 15, 2012. “He holds a current practising certificate, which means he is licensed to practise.”