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Barnet Council meeting to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela
Councillors will mark the life and work of Nelson Mandela at an extraordinary council meeting in his honour.
People will pay tribute to South Africa’s first black president at Hendon Town Hall on Tuesday, before a full council meeting at 7pm.
But Barnet Labour Group’s decision to hold the meeting has come under fire from some who feel he has “nothing to do” with Barnet.
Independent Councillor Brian Coleman said: “This is outrageous. It’s not an emergency, extraordinary council meetings are to discuss matters of huge importance.
“They should be used sparingly. It’s a huge abuse of process for someone who never visited Barnet - we didn’t even have one for Thatcher.
“We’re not the united nations, we’re not parliament, we’re dealing with resident’s real issues and worries - but yet they want to pontificate on Nelson Mandela.”
During the meeting, Labour councillors will call for a Nelson Mandela Lecture to be heard annually during Barnet’s Black History Month.
Mr Mandela, who spent 27 years behind bars for his political actions, died aged 95 in December.
Defending the meeting, Labour leader Cllr Alison Moore said: “Mandela was a huge international figure, a real world figure. He wore his greatness lightly and was genuinely humble.
“The spirit of Mandela is bringing everyone together. We’ve got challenges in Barnet too, trying to move forward at times of economic constraints, but we take inspiration from Mandela.
“The message of using the memorial lecture is to celebrate his life, and to give the younger generation someone to look up to.”
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