I could lose job over brawl at barbecue, admits Aslef chief

The suspended leader of the train drivers' union Aslef admitted last night that his job was on the line after spending several hours defending himself of charges following the infamous barbecue brawl.

Shaun Brady could become the first general secretary of a union to be sacked in more than a decade after an unseemly fracas with the union's president. He had appeared confident as he arrived at a disciplinary hearing yesterday and insisted he would "robustly defend" himself. But he left conceding that it had been an "upsetting" and stressful day.

The 41-year-old - who faces seven charges, including one of bringing the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (Aslef) into disrepute and another related to the use of a credit card - has said he will contest every allegation.

He was suspended along with the assistant general secretary, Mick Blackburn, and president, Martin Samways, five days after a union gathering on 20 May. It is alleged that Mr Brady, a Blairite, was involved in a brawl with Mr Samways, a left-winger, at the union's Hampstead headquarters.

Mr Brady said the president had "turned up drunk at the party, abused people and then lashed out at a member of staff".

Mr Samways denied hitting Mr Brady's personal assistant, Julie Atkinson, while the general secretary has insisted that his involvement was simply to restrain the president. Mr Samways, 57, resigned in June, conceding that he had brought "huge shame" on the union and saying he was quitting for the good of the organisation. In the words of Matthias Kelly QC, who conducted an inquiry into the running of Aslef, the whole incident has helped to make the union a "laughing stock".

Mr Brady turned up yesterday to face the seven-member executive accompanied by train driver Len Worboys, amid claims he had been denied legal representation at the hearing.

Mr Worboys described the disciplinary system as "antiquated", adding: "Unfortunately he will have to make do with me." He said the charges were "without foundation".

Mr Brady, a former driver at South West Trains, was elected to the post in July 2003 in an unexpected victory over Mick Rix and had clashed with the more left-wing executive committee, of which Mr Samways was a member.

Two months ago Mr Kelly's report accused Mr Brady of handling the union's staff "aggressively and insensitively" and engaging in a damaging power struggle. The report, which Mr Brady dismissed as "absolute rubbish", said an "atmosphere of paranoia gripped the union" after the general secretary took office and a "smear campaign" was conducted against Mr Rix.

If, as expected, the union's disciplinary committee decides to dismiss the suspended general secretary, he will have six weeks to launch an appeal. Mr Blackburn faces a disciplinary hearing next week.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project