Disgraced former Tory Brian Coleman has been challenged to join the woman he assaulted at a charity debate on the promise she will drop defamation claims against him.
The Totteridge representative has been invited to take part in the ‘Any Questions’ event at Friern Barnet Community Library and told that, if he attends, café owner Helen Michael’s legal proceedings against him will cease.
Councillor Coleman declined to comment on the offer this afternoon but appears to have given his availability on two dates in an email to event organiser Keith Martin.
Ms Michael threw down the gauntlet less than a year after Councillor Coleman pleaded guilty to assaulting the mother-of-two in North Finchley High Road on September 20, 2012.
He was subsequently expelled from the Conservative party having already lost his seat on the Greater London Assembly and on Barnet Council’s cabinet committee.
Ms Michael has since started a defamation claim against the former Barnet Mayor over an interview he gave to LBC radio in June last year, but she has agreed to drop the action if he attends the charity night, which will raise money for the Friern Barnet Community Library.
Ms Michael said: “What happened to me was really upsetting and shocking and the whole thing was quite traumatic, but almost a year down the line I think it is time to move on and bury the hatchet.
“It will be interesting. He hates me. I suppose I was instrumental in his downfall but I don’t hold any hard feelings about what he did. Time has passed and I have moved on.”
The Café Buzz owner’s olive branch comes in the build-up to the May local elections, at which the now independent Councillor Coleman is intending to stand.
And in his email to organiser Mr Martin, Councillor Coleman said he would be free on either Friday, March 21, or Friday, April 11.
But Ms Michael denied she would be giving the politician a leg-up with some extra publicity before the public cast their vote.
She said: “We won’t be giving him a platform to spout his nonsense. We’re asking people to send in questions before the panel, which will be vetted.
“I’m a bit nervous about the prospect but I’m hoping this will be the end of it and will close a chapter in both of our lives.”
Councillor Coleman said he did not wish to comment on any part of the story when contacted by the Times Series this afternoon.