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Mayor of Barnet Brian Schama; "Coleman is a very experienced politician and makes his own mind up"
The Mayor of Barnet has accused the public gallery of becoming 'quite vociferous' in the build up to Brian Coleman's offensive remarks.
Tory politician Cllr Coleman labelled members of the public gallery “the sad, mad and a couple of old hags” at Tuesday night’s full council meeting.
He then refused to apologise, despite requests from Liberal Democrat group leader Jack Cohen and Mayor Brian Schama.
In Barnet Council’s latest attempt to avoid the issue of the “sexist” remarks from one of its elected members, Mayor Schama today deflected blame onto the public gallery.
Despite repeated requests for an interview from the Times Series , Mr Schama simply sent out this statement:
“Sometimes during council meetings the public gallery can become quite vociferous and this was the case on Tuesday night. However, Councillor Coleman is a very experienced politician and makes his own mind up as to what he will say. I gave him the chance to apologise during the meeting but he declined.”
The vague response comes despite widespread criticism of the Totteridge representative’s latest outburst, which left members of the public “appalled”.
Council leader Richard Cornelius was seen to laugh and applaud Cllr Coleman’s abrasive comments at the packed meeting in Hendon Town Hall.
In his own statement, the group leader also passed the buck, saying it was up to Cllr Coleman whether or not he apologised.
The insults from the former GLA member, who was once entitled to claim £120,000-a-year in expenses, caused such outrage that members of the public confronted him in the corridor during a subsequent break.
The latest controversy comes after a bad few months for the councillor, who has faced two disciplinary hearings for alleged misdemeanours since January.
The controversies led to him losing his seat on the GLA, his position as chairman of the London Fire Authority and being sacked from the council’s own cabinet.