Father-of-three blasts 'ridiculous' apology from Barnet Councillor Brian Coleman

Ron Cohen described the apology as 'ridiculous'

Ron Cohen described the apology as 'ridiculous'

First published in News Times Series: Photograph of the Author by

A father-of-three has blasted a “ridiculous” letter of apology from Councillor Brian Coleman after he was labelled a disloyal Israeli by the politician.

The Totteridge representative was ordered by a standards board to apologise to Ron Cohen and Charlotte Jago after sending offensive emails earlier this year.

In the correspondence, the former Barnet Mayor labelled Jewish Mr Cohen a disloyal Israeli and told Dr Jago “70 years ago you would have been in the (Nazi) blackshirts”.

Despite missing the deadline for an apology set by a standards board hearing earlier this year by more than seven weeks, Councillor Coleman penned two letters of contrition this week.

They read: “In line with the recent standards board rulling (sic). I hereby apologies (sic) for any offence caused by the emails in question.”

The letters arrived on the same day Mr Coleman was suspended from the national Conservative following his arrest over assault charges.

Speaking after he received the letter, Mr Cohen said: “I opened it and just laughed as it was so ridiculous. I didn’t expect much more than that but it was so basically written and, with all the spelling mistakes, it was a testament to the personality behind it.

“I wanted a bit of sincerity but he didn’t mean it and the spelling mistakes and the briefness of the note prove that.

“I really don’t expect anything more from that man so I wasn’t feeling any more offended. It puts this matter to bed and his suspension from the Conservative Party is a gain for the residents of Barnet.”

The offensive comments were made during a series of correspondence between the trio relating to a campaign supported by Mr Cohen and Dr Jago to remove Veolia Water from the Pinkham Way waste plant bid.

The campaign centre’s around the company’s involvement in projects in the Palestinian territories.

Dr Jago said: “I'm glad to have the apology, although of course I wish it hadn't taken 20 stressful months to get to this stage and I wish that Barnet Council had been more proactive in getting this issue resolved before now.”

Former GLA member Cllr Coleman initially refused to apologise but was later ordered to by Conservative group leader Richard Cornelius.

Cllr Cornelius said: “I’m pleased that he’s complied with the standards board. The letter is sincere, it contains the word ‘apologise’ and that is enough.”

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