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Barnet Councillor Brian Coleman called for talks with Conservative group leader
Tory Brian Coleman has been summoned for talks with the Conservative party leader after refusing to apologise for a Nazi ‘blackshirt’ slur.
Group leader Richard Cornelius is reported to be furious with the Totteridge representative’s defiant stance and has called for a meeting with the former Barnet Mayor tomorrow morning (Thursday).
Former GLA member Cllr Coleman has ignored orders by an independent standards panel and a first-tier tribunal judge to apologise for offensive emails sent to two members of the public.
The 51-year-old stated he is “under no obligation to do so” but Tory group leader Councillor Cornelius told the Times Series today he was taking legal advice on the matter.
Former cabinet member Cllr Coleman called Jewish father-of-three Ron Cohen a “disloyal Israeli” and told another constituent Doctor Charlotte Jago that “70 years ago you would have been a (Nazi) blackshirt” in email outbursts earlier this year.
In March, Barnet Council’s standards panel found the politician, once a senior aide to London Mayor Boris Johnson, had broken the members’ code of conduct with the remarks.
Despite the decision being backed by a first-tier tribunal on appeal in August, former GLA member Councillor Coleman is refusing to retract the comments.
In an email reply to the London Evening Standard when asked if he was going to apologise, the former cabinet member said: “I am under no obligation to do so. This was a matter dealt with by the flawed Local Government Standards regime, now abolished.”
Councillor Coleman has previously found himself in hot water for allegedly misusing his members’ parking permit and appearing to swear at a member of the public during a council meeting.
Barnet Council is also understood to be exploring possible avenues of punishment for the politician for the latest controversy.
Councillor Cornelius said he would be speaking with Councillor Coleman about the issue tomorrow morning.
When asked if he was disappointed or surprised by the senior politician’s attitude, Cllr Cornelius said: “I certainly look forward to hearing his views. He has not said to me what he will or will not do as of yet.
“I can’t make any comment on my own views of the situation. We’re all part of a larger party and there is a way of dealing with matters that will be followed.”