Barnet leader admits he was wrong to change council meeting date

Times Series: Richard Cornelius Richard Cornelius

Barnet Borough Council’s leader has admitted he was wrong to move a full council meeting so it clashed with the Labour Party conference.

The ruling Conservative group came under fire from the opposition party when they switched the date of the meeting from September 16 to September 23 – right in the middle of the annual event.

Council leader Richard Cornelius apologised at the Friern Barnet Community Library meeting on June 20.

One member of the audience said: “Moving the meeting was pretty shabby, don’t you think?”

Cllr Cornelius agreed and said: “Yes, it needs to be adjusted”.

The Labour party conference is held in Manchester, and the change would have meant councillors would have had to choose between their party conference or voting on council issues.

Labour councillors accused the Tories of displaying “arrogant” behaviour by making the change, during the last full council meeting of June 2.

When Barnet Mayor Cllr Rayner asked if the councillors agreed with the new date, a resounding ‘no’ echoed from the gallery, followed by cries of “shame on you” and “disgraceful”.

When quizzed by the Times Series, Cllr Cornelius previously said September 23 was the “only convenient date” the event could be held.

He added: “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.”

The Times Series has contacted Cllr Cornelius for a comment.

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