Liberal Democrat councillor Lord Monroe Palmer to retire after 24 years on Barnet Borough Council

Times Series: Lord Palmer Lord Palmer

A councillor who says he despises party politics is set to retire after 24 years of trying to make “real changes” to Barnet.

Lord Monroe Palmer, who represents the Childs Hill Ward, first joined Barnet Borough Council as a Liberal Democrat in 1986.

In that time, he has enjoyed watching Barnet change dramatically and has many memories of working in what he describes as a lively town.

He told the Times Series: “In the early days, people were much more co-operative with each other and it wasn’t quite so confrontational back then.

“But now, Barnet has become very tribal. If someone says something is right, the other one says it’s wrong. We don’t collaborate anymore.

“I know I’m a politician – but I have always despised party political stuff.”

The long-serving councillor was made a peer in the Prime Minister's list four years ago to provide a “splendid voice” in Parliament.

Cllr Palmer has represented the Childs Hill ward alongside his wife Cllr Susette Palmer, who is also due to step down this year.

They married in Golders Green Synagogue and have three children and seven grandchildren.

Cllr Palmer will also retire from his duties as the national chairman of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel and has an interest in matters concerning the Middle East.

He added: “One thing I dislike about the way the council is run is that people only get three minutes to speak about issues affecting them.

“I don’t like that – it makes for a sterile speech. It’s better to let people speak from the heart.”

He originally stepped down from duty in 1994 - but was relected in 1998 after his failed bid to become Hastings MP in 1997.

In his time on the council, Cllr Palmer has also enjoyed being the only non-Tory chairman of a committee.

However, he says helping constituents is what he will miss most.

He has fond memories of once climbing on top of a roof of a block of flats to prove it had been badly repaired after a leak.

The grandfather added: “I was somewhat criticised for it – but if I hadn’t done it nobody would have seen the repair.

“In my younger years I would have had much more action to stop things one didn’t want.

“I also like to think I’ve made some real changes in how we run the audit system."

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