Cllr Rayner has nothing to be ashamed of

Cllr Hugh Rayner

Cllr Hugh Rayner

First published in Readers' Letters

Let us be quite clear – the attack by Mr Dismore, a Labour want-to-be-MP, on Councillor Hugh Rayner, a Conservative councillor, is no more than a political attack by Labour on the Conservatives, creating a bandwagon for every anti-Conservative blogger and pressure group to climb on.

It has nothing to do with what Mr Rayner has done or has not done as a landlord. Mr Dismore wants to be an MP in 2015 and the local Labour Party are miffed at narrowly missing out regaining control of the council and are trying to remedy the situation by coercing one or more of the Conservative councillors to resign.

But the problem here is that Mr Rayner has actually done nothing to be ashamed of. He has run a successful local property management company for nearly 30 years. Most of his tenants have been with him for over ten years – some for more than 20 years. A number of these tenants are furious about responses they have given on the doorstep being ‘misrepresented’ when included in Mr Dismore’s so called ‘evidence against Cllr Rayner’ dossier – included incidentally without their permission.

Let’s just look at how Mr Dismore attacked Cllr Rayner. Mr Rayner is one of his constituents. The normal procedure if a Greater London Authority (GLA) member has a problem concerning a constituent would be for him to raise the matter with his constituent in the first place. Not Mr Dismore’s way. Mr Dismore attacked Mr Rayner at London Mayor’s Question Time at the Greater London Authority, so that the first time Mr Rayner heard about the complaints was a call from a Times Series reporter a few minutes after Mr Dismore sat down.

And what of the information used to attack Mr Rayner? This came from complaints made by a single tenant that Mr Rayner evicted last March, complaining about a lease they signed in 2011 – questionable recollections embellished and passed on by Mr Dismore as fact – and then repeated ad nauseam by the local newspapers.

Let’s consider why Mr Dismore attacked Cllr Rayner. He says so that Barnet residents will know the truth. But what is the truth? The truth is that Dismore is trying to gain political advantage. The truth is that Dismore is doing all this for his own self-aggrandisement.

And who is benefitting from all this huff and puff? Certainly not Mr Rayner’s tenants. His tenants have said they are managing quite well without Mr Dismore’s interference and have done so for many years.

So where do we go from here. A council panel will rule in September on some very specific matters concerning Cllr Rayner’s conduct as a councillor. Mr Dismore will continue to complain that his complaints have not been taken seriously. And the newspapers are likely to continue to report every claim that Mr Dismore utters, regardless. Newspapers please start challenging Mr Dismore’s statements. Discover why he is attacking Cllr Rayner and for whose benefit. If it is just political posturing then please report it as such. It is not fair for newspapers to continue a character assasination hiding behind ‘Mr Dismore claimed that...’. Nor is it fair for the newspapers to continually repeat ‘Cllr Rayner accused of...’ when the accusations have little basis in fact.

Hale ward resident

Name and address supplied

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