Suspended Tory Brian Coleman has labelled the One Barnet scheme “nuts” and accused the council of lacking vision and competence in his online blog.
The former Barnet mayor posted criticisms of the authority’s outsourcing scheme yesterday, days after it provisionally awarded business services provider Capita the largest contract under the project.
Councillor Coleman, suspended from the national Conservative party pending a court case into assault allegations, hit out at the council administration for its handling of the project.
The former GLA member also claimed there is a divide between senior Tories and “the boys” within the group, and that leader Richard Cornelius had to bat down dissenting voices at a party briefing on the Capita decision last week.
He said: “First a former leadership contender complained that councillors had been given an 18-page document and no time to read it, then a succession of councillors got up to attack One Barnet, the concept and the implementation, until a total of 12 had voiced concerns.
“By this time the leader's blood pressure was rising until he finally jumped up "red in the face" and said unless the Conservative Group supported this, all the libraries would have to be closed and social services would be reduced to a crisis-only mode.”
Councillor Coleman, formerly one of the country’s most senior Conservative politicians, also claimed the council’s leadership “has failed to offer any vision and sadly increasingly much competence to Barnet affairs”.
In his blog, entitled The King of Bling is Back, he wrote: “Roy Hattersley reportedly said that the 1983 Labour manifesto was the longest suicide note in history, I suspect he had not seen the Capita contract.
“True Conservatives in Barnet know "in their guts, this One Barnet scheme is nuts ". Many even get the feeling that the usually sensible, mild-mannered and traditional Conservative leader of the council feels the same but has backed himself into a corner.
“It is still not too late to change tack and salvage the 2014 election and allow true Conservative philosophy to win through.”
Richard Cornelius said last week that his party supported the One Barnet project but that he would be lying if he claimed there was no dissent among his group.
Capita was on Wednesday provisionally handed a £320million contract to run the council’s back office services over the next ten years.