Police called in as protesters lobby MP Matthew Offord over lack of affordable housing

Times Series: Protesters gather outside St Matthias Church in Colindale where MP Matthew Offord was hosting his MP Direct meeting. Protesters gather outside St Matthias Church in Colindale where MP Matthew Offord was hosting his MP Direct meeting.

Police were called to keep the peace as protesters from across the capital turned out to lobby MP Matthew Offord over the lack of affordable housing in West Hendon.

Campaigners walked from the West Hendon estate to St Matthias Church in Rushgrove Avenue, Colindale where Mr Offord was hosting one of his MP Direct meetings on Friday night.

Mr Offord, who is the MP for Hendon, sent out invitations to a group of his constituents but said the “ragtag bunch” were not on the list.

Speaking to the Times Series he said: “They just wanted to cause trouble. There’s ways of speaking to your MP and that’s not one of them.

“I’m really pleased my constituents were not interrupted and we had a very successful meeting. About 80 people attended, and we spoke about local issues like traffic, overdevelopment and green spaces in Colindale.

“The West Hendon regeneration was always going to be a very difficult issue and a very difficult process. I was at the estate yesterday morning looking at how we can help these people who are to be moved.”

But the mood outside the church turned sour when the 70-strong protesters, including Labour candidate Nagus Narenthira who had to be removed by police, were refused entry.

The group, who found out about the meeting because one of them had received an invite from Mr Offord, stood their ground and demanded to speak to the MP about plans to knock down their homes on the estate.

The major redevelopment plan has worried many tenants who fear they will have to move out of the borough or be forced to rent privately.

Christina Medeiros, who has lived on the West Hendon estate for eight years, said: “We wanted to speak to our MP about our situation – we want security that we will be rehoused in Barnet as permanent tenants in the borough.

“We’ve been told just 15 per cent of tenants will get homes on the new site, and the rest will either be moved out of the borough or have to go into private renting and go on benefits.

“We’re very angry the MP wouldn’t even come out and speak to us.”

Jasmin Parsons, who has lived on the estate for more than 30 years, said: “West Hendon is killing the community. It’s our community and Matthew Offord is supposed to be representing us in Parliament and we wanted to tell him what we think.

“As far as we knew it was a public meeting until we turned up."

As Mr Offord attempted to leave the church inside a police van, protesters gathered around it preventing the vehicle from moving.

More police were called in to move the protesters on, allowing the vehicle to pass.

Many of last night's protesters live on the estate, although housing activists from across the capital came to join in their campaign. They also lobbied the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, when he visited Muswell Hill last week.

Comments (19)

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4:37pm Sat 12 Apr 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

The footage plainly shows mainly local families, mums and children, and includes two vicars. Constituents of Matthew Offord, barred from a constituents' meeting, and now described here as a 'ragtag bunch'? Does this man actually want to be re-elected?
The footage plainly shows mainly local families, mums and children, and includes two vicars. Constituents of Matthew Offord, barred from a constituents' meeting, and now described here as a 'ragtag bunch'? Does this man actually want to be re-elected? Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog
  • Score: 8

4:38pm Sat 12 Apr 14

Jon10 says...

If Mr Offord is concerned about over-development, maybe he could stop the corrupt - although apparently perfectly legal - way that the Met is selling land at the Peel Centre.

It involves a rigged market of just big developers (as admitted in a Met press release).
If Mr Offord is concerned about over-development, maybe he could stop the corrupt - although apparently perfectly legal - way that the Met is selling land at the Peel Centre. It involves a rigged market of just big developers (as admitted in a Met press release). Jon10
  • Score: 6

6:06pm Sat 12 Apr 14

Barnet Parker says...

Matthew Offord is very particular about how he likes to communicate with his constituents. I gather you have to be vetted if you wish to follow him on Twitter .He once responded to an email I sent to him about the closure of the Church Farmhouse Museum that it was an inappropriate way of communication and he would not engage. Imagine my surprise when I noticed reports in the Evening Standard this week that he conveyed his views of Maria Miller (his dinner guest of the previous week) to the Conservative Chairman via email. Clearly when it comes to communication we are not all in this together.

I found both Offord's predecessors, John Gorst and Andrew Dismore, very open and polite whether they agreed with my views or not. Who can forget Gorst standing up for Edgware General Hospital against his own party's policy? Having attended functions in St Matthias Hall I'm sure it can hold more than 80 and therefore a deputation at least from those outside could have been accommodated. A majority of 106 isn't big enough to pick and choose who you engage with, especially having alienated the gay vote over same sex marriage. Dog owners who want to take their pets to work will not be enough!
Matthew Offord is very particular about how he likes to communicate with his constituents. I gather you have to be vetted if you wish to follow him on Twitter .He once responded to an email I sent to him about the closure of the Church Farmhouse Museum that it was an inappropriate way of communication and he would not engage. Imagine my surprise when I noticed reports in the Evening Standard this week that he conveyed his views of Maria Miller (his dinner guest of the previous week) to the Conservative Chairman via email. Clearly when it comes to communication we are not all in this together. I found both Offord's predecessors, John Gorst and Andrew Dismore, very open and polite whether they agreed with my views or not. Who can forget Gorst standing up for Edgware General Hospital against his own party's policy? Having attended functions in St Matthias Hall I'm sure it can hold more than 80 and therefore a deputation at least from those outside could have been accommodated. A majority of 106 isn't big enough to pick and choose who you engage with, especially having alienated the gay vote over same sex marriage. Dog owners who want to take their pets to work will not be enough! Barnet Parker
  • Score: 11

6:54pm Sat 12 Apr 14

Rog T says...

Barnet Parker - Mr Offord has recently opened his twitter up to the general public. Maria Miller did not turn up to the dinner you mentioned (less than 30 supporters showed up). Having said that, He has an appalling track record for casework for local residents. I too knew Gorst, who I had much time for and Dismore, who had a proven track record of hard work.

Matthew Offord promised voters that he'd make Mill Hill Broadway a great place to do business before the last election, in his words "The sort of place where people would want to open an independent cheese shop". Sadly his council chums hiked parking charges and all we've got is a few more bookies and nailbars. What has he done?
Barnet Parker - Mr Offord has recently opened his twitter up to the general public. Maria Miller did not turn up to the dinner you mentioned (less than 30 supporters showed up). Having said that, He has an appalling track record for casework for local residents. I too knew Gorst, who I had much time for and Dismore, who had a proven track record of hard work. Matthew Offord promised voters that he'd make Mill Hill Broadway a great place to do business before the last election, in his words "The sort of place where people would want to open an independent cheese shop". Sadly his council chums hiked parking charges and all we've got is a few more bookies and nailbars. What has he done? Rog T
  • Score: 9

7:14pm Sat 12 Apr 14

aworrall says...

Dismore, casework? No he was just very good at the expenses. Offord got a new school in Mill Hill.
Dismore, casework? No he was just very good at the expenses. Offord got a new school in Mill Hill. aworrall
  • Score: -1

7:21pm Sat 12 Apr 14

aworrall says...

Embarrassing for Labour and Dismore to see Nagus having to be removed by police - does this woman not want to get elected? Labour is clearly not just soft on crime but part of the problem.
Embarrassing for Labour and Dismore to see Nagus having to be removed by police - does this woman not want to get elected? Labour is clearly not just soft on crime but part of the problem. aworrall
  • Score: -2

7:38pm Sat 12 Apr 14

Mr Worried says...

Oh dear, you weren't there were you Natalie.
There are so many facts wrong with this story,
Protesters, all locals, 40 odd. watch the videos on You Tube.
Meeting Attendees 25 tops; someone who was in there, counted.
Police were fine and polite all afternoon until the arrested sit-in protesters were removed and then de-arrested.
Two vicars, pensioners, union members, young families and two Occupy members from Mill Hill is hardly a rag-tag mob.
There were however, two coffins brought on the demo! One no doubt to signify the end of Offord's short and embarrassing political career; the other represents the going of this daft yet cruel Tory administration on May 22.
Please rewrite this story,
Thanks
Oh dear, you weren't there were you Natalie. There are so many facts wrong with this story, Protesters, all locals, 40 odd. watch the videos on You Tube. Meeting Attendees 25 tops; someone who was in there, counted. Police were fine and polite all afternoon until the arrested sit-in protesters were removed and then de-arrested. Two vicars, pensioners, union members, young families and two Occupy members from Mill Hill is hardly a rag-tag mob. There were however, two coffins brought on the demo! One no doubt to signify the end of Offord's short and embarrassing political career; the other represents the going of this daft yet cruel Tory administration on May 22. Please rewrite this story, Thanks Mr Worried
  • Score: 11

8:24pm Sat 12 Apr 14

Shirley Myers says...

You are right Mr Worried, there are so many facts wrong with this story. I was there and we felt intimidated inside the hall. My husband is a retired police officer who was with me and he was disturbed at the shouting. We saw some children but not many other pensioners there. While we have some sympathy with these people, aggression and demonstrating in such a way is not the way to get things done.
You are right Mr Worried, there are so many facts wrong with this story. I was there and we felt intimidated inside the hall. My husband is a retired police officer who was with me and he was disturbed at the shouting. We saw some children but not many other pensioners there. While we have some sympathy with these people, aggression and demonstrating in such a way is not the way to get things done. Shirley Myers
  • Score: -3

8:44pm Sat 12 Apr 14

Natastic1 says...

Just looking on You Tube it looks like the new venue for the Labour Party conference, there was enough of them there! All of Dismore's office - where was he?
Just looking on You Tube it looks like the new venue for the Labour Party conference, there was enough of them there! All of Dismore's office - where was he? Natastic1
  • Score: -3

10:03pm Sat 12 Apr 14

nlygo says...

"tens of protesters from across the capital" - quite scary! LOL

but why are the plans in West Hendon deemed so important for protesters to be bussed in?
"tens of protesters from across the capital" - quite scary! LOL but why are the plans in West Hendon deemed so important for protesters to be bussed in? nlygo
  • Score: 0

7:40pm Sun 13 Apr 14

marccohen53 says...

So Labour have one councillor with their hand in the till, a retread Parliamentary candidate, Dismore, who has well and truly cleared out the till in the past with his expenses, a Labour councillor thrown out of a meeting by the police and Labour council candidates actively involved in activity resulting in police arrests. How embarrassing for the Labour party - hardly the kind of behaviour we expect to see of politicians paid by the taxpayer.
So Labour have one councillor with their hand in the till, a retread Parliamentary candidate, Dismore, who has well and truly cleared out the till in the past with his expenses, a Labour councillor thrown out of a meeting by the police and Labour council candidates actively involved in activity resulting in police arrests. How embarrassing for the Labour party - hardly the kind of behaviour we expect to see of politicians paid by the taxpayer. marccohen53
  • Score: -6

8:05pm Sun 13 Apr 14

Barnet Parker says...

Rog T.
Thanks for updating my knowledge of Offord's Twitter account. Very noble of him to open it up to the general public at this late stage of the electoral cycle but I think I'll give it a miss now. Too little too late.

I did know that Maria Miller was a no show so should have referred to her as 'invited dinner guest'. I suppose the sub-text of my point was the irony of emailing the Conservative Party Chairman to complain about Cameron's judgement in not sacking her. What about Offord's judgement in inviting her in the first place.

Big fan of The Barnet Eye BTW. Keep up the good work.
Rog T. Thanks for updating my knowledge of Offord's Twitter account. Very noble of him to open it up to the general public at this late stage of the electoral cycle but I think I'll give it a miss now. Too little too late. I did know that Maria Miller was a no show so should have referred to her as 'invited dinner guest'. I suppose the sub-text of my point was the irony of emailing the Conservative Party Chairman to complain about Cameron's judgement in not sacking her. What about Offord's judgement in inviting her in the first place. Big fan of The Barnet Eye BTW. Keep up the good work. Barnet Parker
  • Score: 7

10:55am Mon 14 Apr 14

Rog T says...

aworral, Dismore got a new school for Mill Hill. St Vincents was completely rebuilt. Previously it was semi derelict and unsafe. The new school is fantastic. My three children attended and benefitted from a 1st clss education. Mr dismore championed this. As to your comments about casework. Mr Dismore prevented Barnet Councul from evicting my former business partners widow and four children, one of whom is severely disabled from council accomodation. That may mean nothing to you but was a life saver for the family. I know of dozens of other people also helped by mr dismore
aworral, Dismore got a new school for Mill Hill. St Vincents was completely rebuilt. Previously it was semi derelict and unsafe. The new school is fantastic. My three children attended and benefitted from a 1st clss education. Mr dismore championed this. As to your comments about casework. Mr Dismore prevented Barnet Councul from evicting my former business partners widow and four children, one of whom is severely disabled from council accomodation. That may mean nothing to you but was a life saver for the family. I know of dozens of other people also helped by mr dismore Rog T
  • Score: 4

11:50am Mon 14 Apr 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

NLYGO: of all the people there, about 70, I recognise only five: the rest are quite clearly women, children, pensioners and ordinary local people. I have met many of them and I can assure you they are tenants and leaseholders who have come together without any link to Labour, and in fact they have publicly questioned Labour's stance on housing.

Marc Cohen, you are repeating a lie about a Labour councillor 'with a hand in the till'. Once that councillor is identified, such a remark will become defamatory. More to the point it is not true, you have no reason or evidence to support such a smear, and you should clarify your remarks.
NLYGO: of all the people there, about 70, I recognise only five: the rest are quite clearly women, children, pensioners and ordinary local people. I have met many of them and I can assure you they are tenants and leaseholders who have come together without any link to Labour, and in fact they have publicly questioned Labour's stance on housing. Marc Cohen, you are repeating a lie about a Labour councillor 'with a hand in the till'. Once that councillor is identified, such a remark will become defamatory. More to the point it is not true, you have no reason or evidence to support such a smear, and you should clarify your remarks. Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog
  • Score: 3

12:15pm Mon 14 Apr 14

nlygo says...

Mrs Angry you are wrong.

there are no ordinary local people

we are all extra-ordinary!
Mrs Angry you are wrong. there are no ordinary local people we are all extra-ordinary! nlygo
  • Score: 0

2:47pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

Nlygo: at last we can agree on something!
Nlygo: at last we can agree on something! Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog
  • Score: 0

3:24pm Mon 14 Apr 14

aworrall says...

Roger T, I should hope Mr Dismore did help some constituents after over 10 years in parliament but he has had his time. Offord got Etzchaim and I know has also helped hundreds of constituents. You seem to have avoided Dismore's expenses?
Roger T, I should hope Mr Dismore did help some constituents after over 10 years in parliament but he has had his time. Offord got Etzchaim and I know has also helped hundreds of constituents. You seem to have avoided Dismore's expenses? aworrall
  • Score: -3

10:57pm Mon 14 Apr 14

marccohen53 says...

Mrs Angry, the "reason and evidence" is based on the report in the press - are you saying that this is a smear by the Hendon Times? Your knowledge of the law is as lacking as your knowledge of politics. We still have no idea who that councillor is so good luck with that defamation claim.
Mrs Angry, the "reason and evidence" is based on the report in the press - are you saying that this is a smear by the Hendon Times? Your knowledge of the law is as lacking as your knowledge of politics. We still have no idea who that councillor is so good luck with that defamation claim. marccohen53
  • Score: -4

4:16pm Tue 22 Apr 14

sensiblefellow says...

I have been observing Matthew Offord' strange antics ever since he became an MP. His default action seems to be to call in the police whenever he faces the real prospect of debate or democratic input. The kind of behaviour in the article will clearly reduce his already limited credibility in his constituency. I would have voted for him in days gone by, but not any more. Offord is clearly an MP who feels uncomfortable walking around his own constituency and needs to resort to a police escort. Completely laughable.
I have been observing Matthew Offord' strange antics ever since he became an MP. His default action seems to be to call in the police whenever he faces the real prospect of debate or democratic input. The kind of behaviour in the article will clearly reduce his already limited credibility in his constituency. I would have voted for him in days gone by, but not any more. Offord is clearly an MP who feels uncomfortable walking around his own constituency and needs to resort to a police escort. Completely laughable. sensiblefellow
  • Score: 1

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