MORE cabinet members have said they will not be standing for the council leadership when Mike Freer steps down.

As the nomination papers are sent out to councillors, Cllr Daniel Thomas, Cllr Melvin Cohen and Cllr Andrew Harper have all said they are not interested in the role.

The cabinet member for environment and transport, Cllr Andrew Harper said his current job kept him too busy.

“I've got a big job on my hands and I'm looking forward to continuing with that,” he said.

Cllr Harper would not be drawn on who he thought would put themselves forward to lead the Conservatives into the next election.

He paid tribute to Cllr Freer's management skills.

“In my view Mike has been a terrific leader of the council. He has been inspirational and visionary, also enabling.

“I personally particularly appreciate the way that he's encouraged and supported me and enabled me to do my job and he displays the same qualities with others.”

The man with responsibility for planning and environmental protection, Cllr Cohen's, response to our questions about Cllr Freer's resignation was short and sweet.

He said Cllr Freer's three and a half years at the helm had been “superb”

“He managed to unite the group,” he said.

He added that he did not want to run for his job and had “no idea” who will.

Cllr Thomas, who only became a councillor a short time before Cllr Freer became leader and shares his ward, said he was too new to the council to go for the leader job.

“The time isn't right for me to be standing,” he said.

He said he was not sure who would run saying that councillors would know “soon enough.”

Speaking of Cllr Freer he said: “In my time working with him I've always been impressed at how knowledgeable he was, and of his grasp of the facts, knowledge of Barnet and all the issues our residents faced.

“If you asked him any question he would have an answer. He was a pleasure to work with.

“It was important for us to see the council become more efficient and it was very easy to agree with what Mike has done.

“His loss will certainly be Parliament's gain.”

Of the nine cabinet members (the tenth member is Cllr Freer), five have said they do not want his job, Cllr Fiona Bulmer has not said either way and Cllrs Robert Rams, Matthew Offord and Lynne Hillan, the current deputy leader have yet to comment.

Councillors will vote for their new leader on December 10.

Cllr Freer will officially step down at the last full council meeting of the year, on December 15.