Brian Coleman: a look back at some of his most controversial moments

10:08pm Friday 23rd May 2014

By Anna Slater

After Brian Coleman was ousted from his role as Totteridge councillor on Barnet Borough Council, the Times Series takes a look back at some of his most controversial moments.

Formerly a Totteridge councillor, he received 265 votes in May 22 election – which those present at the count pointed out was fewer than the number of his Twitter followers.

Mr Coleman disappeared from Allianz Park at around 3.30pm, and as the results were being announced he tweeted: “Enjoying cold drink in the comfort of my armchair listening to Tosca and toasting the end of Cornelius Administration. No wife can save it.”

Over the years, he has landed himself in hot water with various formal complaints against him.

He received a barrage of dissatisfaction after launching the cashless pay-by-phone parking system in 2010.

Mr Coleman set up the new meterless system in his role as parking portfolio holder, but critics said it discriminated against elderly and disabled drivers who do not have mobile phones or credit cards.

In May 2012, he was sacked from Barnet Council's cabinet at a Conservative Party meeting and removed from his post as cabinet member for environment after voters deserted the politician at the polls in the GLA elections.

When he was later booted out of his role as the chairman of the London Fire Authority, firefighters said they were “pleased to see the back of him”.

Months later, he sparked more outrage by describing people in the public gallery at a council meeting as “the sad, the mad and a couple of hags”.

The former GLA member was also hauled in front of the council’s standards committee following complaints about offensive e-mails.

He called Jewish Ron Cohen a “disloyal Israeli” and told Dr Charlotte Jago that “70 years ago, you would have been a member of the (Nazi) blackshirts”.

Cllr Coleman was found guilty of breaking the members’ code of conduct and forced to pen an apology.

In April 2013, he was found guilty of calling “psychiatric nurse Paul Merchant a “tw*t” during a packed cabinet meeting in April 2012.

But he then said he “doesn’t give a toss” about the punishment, and compared being censured by Barnet Council to “being mauled by a dead sheep”.

But in what was perhaps one of his most controversial moments, he was arrested for attacking Cafe Buzz owner Helen Michael in September 2012.

At the last minute, he entered a guilty plea and admitted to grabbing her breast after she filmed him parking illegally in a restricted loading bay.

Although initially confirming they would take no action against him, the Conservatives then took the decision to suspend him from the party.

He was then permanently expelled, with Tory leader Cllr Richard Cornelius saying he “embarrassed the whole of the Conservative party”.

He then came back to bite his former colleagues with an explosive online blog revealing some of the Conservative group members' darkest secrets.

In his blog, The King of Bling is Back, he gave most of the 37 councillors a roasting – revealing a “hushed up” drink driving ban for one member as well as labelling others “wet” and “sulkers”.

Ms Michael then started a defamation claim against him over an interview he gave to LBC Radio last June.

Mr Coleman also came under fire earlier this year after throwing away a laptop belonging to the authority.

A total of 53 councillors voted in favour of censuring him in February after hearing how he breached the members’ code of conduct by disposing of council property.

And in April this year he sparked outrage on Twitter for his controversial comments on the death of Peaches Geldof.

He also tweeted a link to the Daily Telegraph’s obituary to the second daughter of Bob Geldof and the late Paula Yates, and said: “Sad, but what was the point of her life? Hardly deserving of a long DT (Daily Telegraph) obit.”

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