Labour accuse Tories of 'running a scam' as Barnet Council meeting erupts into chaos

New Mayor Hugh Raynor, pictured with his wife, attempted to calm the chaotic meeting

New Mayor Hugh Raynor, pictured with his wife, attempted to calm the chaotic meeting

First published in News
Last updated

Chaos erupted at the first council meeting since the local election as opposition councillors accused the Tories of “running a dictatorship”.

The Labour group feel the Conservatives are displaying “arrogant” behaviour by making a string of changes which they claim go against Barnet Borough Council conventions.

During Monday's meeting, Cllr Hugh Rayner was sworn in as Mayor and Cllr Richard Cornelius was re-elected leader of the council.

In the first of a series of changes, a full council meeting was moved from September 16 to September 23 – in the middle of the Labour Party Conference.

When Cllr Rayner asked if the councillors agreed with the new date, a resounding ‘no’ echoed from the gallery.

One councillor interjected, saying: “They’re running a scam, it’s outrageous.”

As Cllr Rayner attempted to quell the shouting, councillors began chanting “shame on you”, “disgraceful”, and Barnet blogger Mrs Angry said: “We’re trying to act like a democracy, not a dictatorship”.

The Conservatives also caused anger by appointing the roles of chairmen and vice-chairmen of the Chipping Barnet neighbourhood forum to their own – even though Labour holds the majority in the area.

And even though Labour has a majority on the east area planning and Chipping Barnet area sub committees, the Tories appointed chairmen and vice-chairmen from their own group.

According to Labour leader Cllr Alison Moore, Conservatives also “ignored” a rule to offer the role of chairman of the audit committee to an opposition councillor by giving the role to Tory Brian Sallinger.

Cllr Hugh Rayner told the meeting: “I am the Mayor of Barnet and I would hope you respect the office of the Mayor of Barnet.

“I would ask that when you are frustrated with decisions from the other side, you do not show disrespect to the Mayor of Barnet.

“Please do not bring the Mayor into disrespect.”

During last month’s local elections, the Tories retained power in Barnet – but it was a close fight as Labour missed taking control by just two seats.

The deferred election in Colindale is due to take place at the end of the month after Green Party candidate Jessica Yorke died days before it was due to take place.

Cllr Moore told the Times Series: “We’ve seen what the Tories are made of, it’s shameful. It’s arrogant behaviour, it’s distasteful.

“I genuinely don’t think they get it – that isn’t democratic. It’s shameful. So they had their majorities slashed and the first thing they do is to ride rough shod across democratic accountability.”

When the Times Series asked Councillor Richard Cornelius whether he felt the changes were undemocratic given all the opposition, he said: “Well we did win the election, we were 10,000 votes ahead of Labour. It’s customary for the ruling group to make the decisions.”

He said September 23 was the “only convenient date” the full council meeting could be held and that there weren’t any other “obvious” candidates to chair the committees.

Comments (16)

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1:57pm Wed 4 Jun 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

In fact the Mayor's remarks inflamed the situation, rather than calmed it: he was incensed by the affront to his own 'authority' and the lack of respect he felt was owed to him. Respect must be earned: the behaviour of the Tories at this meeting was appalling, and truly brought the reputation of the party into disrepute. They continue to show only contempt for the community they represent and yet fail to realise the message inherent in the election result, which leaves their control on a knife edge, because their own policies have lost them the support of thousands of their own previously loyal supporters.
In fact the Mayor's remarks inflamed the situation, rather than calmed it: he was incensed by the affront to his own 'authority' and the lack of respect he felt was owed to him. Respect must be earned: the behaviour of the Tories at this meeting was appalling, and truly brought the reputation of the party into disrepute. They continue to show only contempt for the community they represent and yet fail to realise the message inherent in the election result, which leaves their control on a knife edge, because their own policies have lost them the support of thousands of their own previously loyal supporters. Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog
  • Score: 25

2:03pm Wed 4 Jun 14

AverageBarnetResident says...

What's all the fuss about?
The conservatives won the election, right?
So they have a democratic mandate to run the borough. Labour need to grow up and accept that they are in opposition (again). Half of them are children, and the other half act like they are.
What's all the fuss about? The conservatives won the election, right? So they have a democratic mandate to run the borough. Labour need to grow up and accept that they are in opposition (again). Half of them are children, and the other half act like they are. AverageBarnetResident
  • Score: -21

2:30pm Wed 4 Jun 14

Mike NW7 says...

AverageBarnetResiden
t
wrote:
What's all the fuss about? The conservatives won the election, right? So they have a democratic mandate to run the borough. Labour need to grow up and accept that they are in opposition (again). Half of them are children, and the other half act like they are.
One by-election is all it takes for Labour and Jack Cohen to take control of the council. I confidently predict Labour will be in charge by 2018 and the shoe will be very much on the other foot then.
[quote][p][bold]AverageBarnetResiden t[/bold] wrote: What's all the fuss about? The conservatives won the election, right? So they have a democratic mandate to run the borough. Labour need to grow up and accept that they are in opposition (again). Half of them are children, and the other half act like they are.[/p][/quote]One by-election is all it takes for Labour and Jack Cohen to take control of the council. I confidently predict Labour will be in charge by 2018 and the shoe will be very much on the other foot then. Mike NW7
  • Score: 11

3:04pm Wed 4 Jun 14

AverageBarnetResident says...

Wasn’t so long ago that you and Mrs Angry were “confidently predicting” a victory for the Loony Left in the council elections. Didn’t quite work out though, ey?....
Never mind. Only another 4 years of aimlessly banging on about how much you hate the tories. Keep it up you guys!
Wasn’t so long ago that you and Mrs Angry were “confidently predicting” a victory for the Loony Left in the council elections. Didn’t quite work out though, ey?.... Never mind. Only another 4 years of aimlessly banging on about how much you hate the tories. Keep it up you guys! AverageBarnetResident
  • Score: -16

3:12pm Wed 4 Jun 14

Mike NW7 says...

The clock is ticking...tick tock...Labour take Colindale...tick tock...A conservative councillor resigns or crosses the floor or sadly passes away...tick tock...a new Labour councillor takes their place and moves a motion of no confidence in the Conservative Council leader....tick tock..we wake up to a Better Barnet, run by the people, for all the people. The difference between Labour and the Conservatives is that unlike the Conservatives we do not have the interests of the rich at heart, we are truly a national movement of ordinary people who want to take control of government, and govern for the people.
The clock is ticking...tick tock...Labour take Colindale...tick tock...A conservative councillor resigns or crosses the floor or sadly passes away...tick tock...a new Labour councillor takes their place and moves a motion of no confidence in the Conservative Council leader....tick tock..we wake up to a Better Barnet, run by the people, for all the people. The difference between Labour and the Conservatives is that unlike the Conservatives we do not have the interests of the rich at heart, we are truly a national movement of ordinary people who want to take control of government, and govern for the people. Mike NW7
  • Score: 5

4:12pm Wed 4 Jun 14

BarnetSteve says...

What happened to politicians making decisions to improve things for those they represent rather than out of spite.
What happened to politicians making decisions to improve things for those they represent rather than out of spite. BarnetSteve
  • Score: 14

4:55pm Wed 4 Jun 14

AverageBarnetResident says...

Raise the red flag, Mike! Down with the nasty rich people!

This rhetoric is now literally decades old, and no one is buying it anymore (other than perhaps Mrs Angry). Yawn.
Raise the red flag, Mike! Down with the nasty rich people! This rhetoric is now literally decades old, and no one is buying it anymore (other than perhaps Mrs Angry). Yawn. AverageBarnetResident
  • Score: -7

5:09pm Wed 4 Jun 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

Average Barnet Tory Councillor: good try. But democracy is about more than who wins: it is not a game, It is meant to be a process of engagement, a dialogue. Barnet Tories fail to listen, to consult, and this is why their own voters deserted them in droves at the election. Seems like the lesson has still not been learned, doesn't it?
Average Barnet Tory Councillor: good try. But democracy is about more than who wins: it is not a game, It is meant to be a process of engagement, a dialogue. Barnet Tories fail to listen, to consult, and this is why their own voters deserted them in droves at the election. Seems like the lesson has still not been learned, doesn't it? Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog
  • Score: 4

5:11pm Wed 4 Jun 14

nlygo says...

meanwhile, the children have taken over at the asylum.

stop squabbling everyone and behave!
meanwhile, the children have taken over at the asylum. stop squabbling everyone and behave! nlygo
  • Score: -3

5:11pm Wed 4 Jun 14

adam1969 says...

isn't one of the Barnet Tory councillors 84 years of age?
isn't one of the Barnet Tory councillors 84 years of age? adam1969
  • Score: 7

5:57pm Wed 4 Jun 14

AverageBarnetResident says...

No, no. Democracy is very much about who wins. The party that is able to form a majority of elected members is able to form an “administration” and is said to have received an electoral “mandate” to make decisions by majority.

You lost dear, sorry.

PS – I am not a tory councillor, although I do support this administration. Not everyone who disagrees with you is a tory councillor. In fact, the majority of voters in Barnet disagree with you. Clearly, we are not all tory councillors.
No, no. Democracy is very much about who wins. The party that is able to form a majority of elected members is able to form an “administration” and is said to have received an electoral “mandate” to make decisions by majority. You lost dear, sorry. PS – I am not a tory councillor, although I do support this administration. Not everyone who disagrees with you is a tory councillor. In fact, the majority of voters in Barnet disagree with you. Clearly, we are not all tory councillors. AverageBarnetResident
  • Score: -5

12:24am Thu 5 Jun 14

Mike NW7 says...

AverageBarnetResiden
t
wrote:
Raise the red flag, Mike! Down with the nasty rich people!

This rhetoric is now literally decades old, and no one is buying it anymore (other than perhaps Mrs Angry). Yawn.
It would appear I have got under your skin AverageBarnetResiden
t. I'm not so poor myself and am a self employed businessman who has paid off his mortgage and lives reasonably comfortably. Don't waste your time playing your silly and childish class war games with me. You just make yourself look smaller and smaller every time.
[quote][p][bold]AverageBarnetResiden t[/bold] wrote: Raise the red flag, Mike! Down with the nasty rich people! This rhetoric is now literally decades old, and no one is buying it anymore (other than perhaps Mrs Angry). Yawn.[/p][/quote]It would appear I have got under your skin AverageBarnetResiden t. I'm not so poor myself and am a self employed businessman who has paid off his mortgage and lives reasonably comfortably. Don't waste your time playing your silly and childish class war games with me. You just make yourself look smaller and smaller every time. Mike NW7
  • Score: 5

10:58am Thu 5 Jun 14

AverageBarnetResident says...

I really don’t need to hear about your “comfortable” financial situation, Mike. I was bought up to believe that it is distasteful to brag about one’s wealth. Your post actually made me cringe at my screen.
Safe to say that not all of us are as fortunate as you. Now go crack open the champagne and have a nice long read of you Guardian.
I really don’t need to hear about your “comfortable” financial situation, Mike. I was bought up to believe that it is distasteful to brag about one’s wealth. Your post actually made me cringe at my screen. Safe to say that not all of us are as fortunate as you. Now go crack open the champagne and have a nice long read of you Guardian. AverageBarnetResident
  • Score: -5

11:52am Thu 5 Jun 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

Average Barnet Tory: I think you will find, if you think awfully hard about it, that clearly more people in Barnet did not vote Tory than did support them.

Funny how Tories get so hot under the collar about strike votes that are 'only' maybe 50% of members, yet choose democratically to support industrial action, isn't it? All about numbers, though, as you say ...
Average Barnet Tory: I think you will find, if you think awfully hard about it, that clearly more people in Barnet did not vote Tory than did support them. Funny how Tories get so hot under the collar about strike votes that are 'only' maybe 50% of members, yet choose democratically to support industrial action, isn't it? All about numbers, though, as you say ... Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog
  • Score: 7

4:35pm Thu 5 Jun 14

AverageBarnetResident says...

I agree with you completely Mrs Angry. In fact, more people in Barnet didn't vote at all than voted for any of the parties. A crying shame, no doubt.

However, that does not change my previous statement at all. More Tory votes than Labour, hence why you lost. Not that difficult to fathom, surely?

And no, union strike ballots are not democratic. They are, in fact, the antithesis of democracy as they allow a small group with a specific interest to derail the policies of democratically elected governments. They promote the good of the few (teachers, usually) over the good of the many, and have disastrous effects for the lives of hard-working people.
I agree with you completely Mrs Angry. In fact, more people in Barnet didn't vote at all than voted for any of the parties. A crying shame, no doubt. However, that does not change my previous statement at all. More Tory votes than Labour, hence why you lost. Not that difficult to fathom, surely? And no, union strike ballots are not democratic. They are, in fact, the antithesis of democracy as they allow a small group with a specific interest to derail the policies of democratically elected governments. They promote the good of the few (teachers, usually) over the good of the many, and have disastrous effects for the lives of hard-working people. AverageBarnetResident
  • Score: -6

7:00pm Sat 7 Jun 14

Barnet Parker says...

I've never been a Tory but I have tried to understand their mindset. Surely they are just people with a different world view to mine but ultimately want the best for the world as they understand it, however misguided. Sadly after living with 8 years of Tory rule in Barnet I have been forced to conclude that they truly are the nasty party.

However I would have thought such a dramatic loss of votes would have chastened them a bit and they would have realised that the way they have conducted themselves has not gone down well with residents. Amazingly it would appear not and we are now left with a Mayor who demands respect but shows little respect for the residents of Colindale by ploughing on with a controversial vote in the Council chamber before their representatives have taken their place to have a say. Rayner 1 Democracy 0.

As we have seen in the latest election this behaviour leads to diminishing returns. Of course Tory councillors won't know of the words of Karl Marx; those who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
I've never been a Tory but I have tried to understand their mindset. Surely they are just people with a different world view to mine but ultimately want the best for the world as they understand it, however misguided. Sadly after living with 8 years of Tory rule in Barnet I have been forced to conclude that they truly are the nasty party. However I would have thought such a dramatic loss of votes would have chastened them a bit and they would have realised that the way they have conducted themselves has not gone down well with residents. Amazingly it would appear not and we are now left with a Mayor who demands respect but shows little respect for the residents of Colindale by ploughing on with a controversial vote in the Council chamber before their representatives have taken their place to have a say. Rayner 1 Democracy 0. As we have seen in the latest election this behaviour leads to diminishing returns. Of course Tory councillors won't know of the words of Karl Marx; those who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Barnet Parker
  • Score: 3

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