Conservatives retain Barnet Borough Council control after a close fight

Councillor Richard Cornelius

Labour leader Alison Moore

First published in News
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It was a close fight, but Conservatives retained power in Barnet, with Labour wrestling nine seats from the Tories.

After an anxious wait at Allianz Park, the Labour group missed out on taking control of the council by just two seats.

Assuming Labour retains its three seats in Colindale, the party will have a total of 30 councillors – topping its current record of 26.

Colindale’s election was postponed owing to the death of Green Party candidate Jessica Yorke earlier this week, and will take place in June.

Labour and Tories went neck and neck after 18 ward results were announced, but the Conservatives went on to hold all three seats in High Barnet and took two seats from the Liberal Democrats in Childs Hill, giving them an unbeatable total of 32 councillors.

Conservative council leader Richard Cornelius said: “It’s a brave new world for Barnet in so many ways. I’m very pleased.

“It was looking quite close for a bit. It took us a long way to get there, but eventually we did.

“We’re back in action, we look forward to delivering all those services."

Labour leader Councillor Alison Moore said she was “disappointed” with the result.

But it was not all doom and gloom for Labour, who gained nine seats including three in East Barnet, two in Underhilll, one in West Hendon, one in Hale, one in Brunswick Park and one in Coppetts.

Cllr Moore said: “We fought a hard campaign, and we have elected some brilliant new councillors who will contribute to Barnet. There was a chance we could have won, and we are disappointed but it’s certainly not a ringing endorsement for the Conservatives.

“Tonight’s result is testament to our manifesto and out pitch to people about restoring the fairness and democracy in Barnet after an administration that have not engaged with local people and dismissed their views.

“We will continue to fight and be on the side of local residents and making sure their voices are heard. We will also fight to ensure that One Barnet is not selling residents short.”

This Is Local London:

Councillors Alon Or-Bach (Lab), Alison Moore (Lab) and Arjun Mittra (Lab) celebrate after being elected in East Finchley ward

The youngest person to be elected to the council is 19-year-old Rebecca Challice, one of three new Labour councillors in East Barnet.

Although typically a Tory ward, it shifted drastically with Cllr Challice and her new colleagues, Lawrie Williams and Philip Cohen, wresting it from Tory hands.

It also meant Cllr Robert Rams was ousted from his seat, having previously been cabinet member for customer access.

Cllr Challice said: "I didn’t want to assume – but now I’m so happy to have been given this chance.

"I can’t wait to see what I can do for the people of East Barnet."

The second youngest person on the council is fellow Labour councillor Amy Trevethan, 23. She is next year’s Labour parliamentary candidate for High Barnet.

Cllr Trevethan said: "Together with Rebecca Challice, I hope to be a strong voice for all the young people in Barnet who have been so badly let down by the Tories."

After the Mill Hill vote was announced, Conservative Cllr Sury Khatri said: "I feel elated. I thought the Liberal Democrats might get it, I thought my time on the council was numbered.

"I can’t wait to continue serving the residents of Barnet, it shows they’ve got faith in me. I always try to do better than I have done, and improve on myself."

The Liberal Democrats lost two out of three seats on the council, with stalwart Jack Cohen retaining his seat in Childs Hill.

He said: "He said: "I’m stunned. The way it was going, I didn’t expect this at all. It’s unbelievable really. It just shows if you’ve got a good reputation you can beat the trend.

"I believe in working for the people, and I’ll continue to do that.

"I don’t know how it will work yet because as the only Liberal Democrat I’ll be on my own."

The Green Party and UK Independence Party did not win any seats.

Comments (6)

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12:56am Sat 24 May 14

Jon10 says...

The youngest person to be elected to the council is 19-year-old Rebecca Challice, one of three new Labour councillors in High Barnet.

You mean EAST Barnet, but hey, it's late, and you have done a blinder of election reporting for hours!

Well done the lot of you.
The youngest person to be elected to the council is 19-year-old Rebecca Challice, one of three new Labour councillors in High Barnet. You mean EAST Barnet, but hey, it's late, and you have done a blinder of election reporting for hours! Well done the lot of you. Jon10
  • Score: 4

11:05am Sat 24 May 14

dawboy says...

As a floating voter I have two comments regarding the results from these Council elections. Firstly I am overjoyed to see the back of Brian Colemen. His disappearance from the Barnet political scene is a move towards a healthier situation and can only benefit local residents in my opinion and no doubt improve the finances of the borough.
Secondly I trust that our Conservative councillors have had a wake up call. I believe that far too often they have given the impression that they are arrogant and disrespectful of local people opinions and requirements. I would like to think that it is just an impression, but unfortunately I do not think it is just an impression.
Hopefully with the closeness of the election result the Conservatives will take note and have received a wake up call. They should now start to act a little more democratically with their allocation of committee chairmanships to other parties and listen more and dictate less. If they done this in the past then they would have made far fewer mistakes financially and upset less businesses and local residents.
As I have said, I hope that this is a wake up call for the Conservatives, but somehow when the initial upset passes I have this uneasy feeling that they will have learned nothing and just revert back to business as usual. If they do, then I do not see them being in power after the next local election.
As a floating voter I have two comments regarding the results from these Council elections. Firstly I am overjoyed to see the back of Brian Colemen. His disappearance from the Barnet political scene is a move towards a healthier situation and can only benefit local residents in my opinion and no doubt improve the finances of the borough. Secondly I trust that our Conservative councillors have had a wake up call. I believe that far too often they have given the impression that they are arrogant and disrespectful of local people opinions and requirements. I would like to think that it is just an impression, but unfortunately I do not think it is just an impression. Hopefully with the closeness of the election result the Conservatives will take note and have received a wake up call. They should now start to act a little more democratically with their allocation of committee chairmanships to other parties and listen more and dictate less. If they done this in the past then they would have made far fewer mistakes financially and upset less businesses and local residents. As I have said, I hope that this is a wake up call for the Conservatives, but somehow when the initial upset passes I have this uneasy feeling that they will have learned nothing and just revert back to business as usual. If they do, then I do not see them being in power after the next local election. dawboy
  • Score: 9

11:59am Sat 24 May 14

Tamer37 says...

I voted conservatives.
I voted conservatives. Tamer37
  • Score: -11

10:15pm Sat 24 May 14

Andrew Haynes says...

I have no idea who dawboy is, but I find myself in agreement with him/her.

First, we should all celebrate the fact that Totteridge voters have finally come to their sense and realised that Brian Coleman is a complete wazzock.

Secondly, I agree that the election result is a wake-up call for Barnet’s Tory councillors. If they do not pay more respect to public opinion they will surely be ousted next time.
I have no idea who dawboy is, but I find myself in agreement with him/her. First, we should all celebrate the fact that Totteridge voters have finally come to their sense and realised that Brian Coleman is a complete wazzock. Secondly, I agree that the election result is a wake-up call for Barnet’s Tory councillors. If they do not pay more respect to public opinion they will surely be ousted next time. Andrew Haynes
  • Score: 1

1:41pm Sun 25 May 14

Mr. Datchery says...

So that's potentially 32 councillors who could threaten to resign the Tory whip if they don't get their own way.
So that's potentially 32 councillors who could threaten to resign the Tory whip if they don't get their own way. Mr. Datchery
  • Score: 0

7:36pm Wed 28 May 14

Mr E Dance says...

For any ex-Councillors with time on their hands (Mr Coleman, Mr Rams, et al), 'Knit and Natter' at Friern Barnet Library is on a Tuesday, from 11am.
There are also volunteer librarian shifts to be covered. You do believe in Big Society (sic) don't you?
For any ex-Councillors with time on their hands (Mr Coleman, Mr Rams, et al), 'Knit and Natter' at Friern Barnet Library is on a Tuesday, from 11am. There are also volunteer librarian shifts to be covered. You do believe in Big Society (sic) don't you? Mr E Dance
  • Score: 0

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