LiveLeader's panel into Mayor Hugh Rayner's conduct

First published in News
Last updated
This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

This live event has finished


  • Mayor of Barnet Hugh Rayner is under investigation for failure to declare his interests in housing at committee meetings.
  • He is also accused of abusing his position as a councillor for personal benefit.
  • The leader's panel is due to decide whether he breached Barnet Borough Council's code of conduct tonight.
  • It is due to be held in private - something that the Times Series strongly disagrees with.
  • The panel is made up of three Conservatives and two Labour members, including leader Richard Cornelius, who has previously come out in support of his Tory colleague.
  • Tweet us using the hashtag #RaynerPanel


Some of the decisions were unanimous, some were not.


The panel found that Mayor Hugh Rayner did NOT breach the code of conduct for the various allegations against him.


The panel have returned after spending two hours deliberating.


And they've been deliberating for 1 hour and 45 minutes. That's nearly two hours.


They are still legally allowed to meet, according to the constitution, but if it's tied the casting vote goes to the chairman


There's meant to be three Conservatives on the panel, looks like Cllr Marshall had excluded himself


Conservative Councillor John Marshall, who is supposed to be deliberating, is actually sat in the Finchley Area Planning Forum...




And one hour and 15 minutes later, we are still waiting...


It's nearly 7pm and there's no sign of the panel. Apparently, they've been told to have their decision by 7pm.


It's been almost an hour and we're still waiting for the panel to return with their decision.


The panel have now gone to deliberate.


Tanya Ossack, Independent member: "I am intensely confused in the different code of conducts.

"I don't understand why someone who has an interest in something at a meeting, wouldn't say so.

"If it breaches the code, that's the end to it.

"The code has a moral aspect too.

"But at the end of the day, if someone wanted to look at it, it's all there."


But she says the evidence relating to the other matters are a "bit shaky".


"You just need to be a bit more careful", she said. "That blurring raises a question mark. You need to exercise a bit more caution."


She said: "There's obviously an issue on behalf of a councillor, acting on behalf of members of his consistuency, having problems with him.

"There's a blurring between acting as a councillor and acting as a landlord.

"That seems to be, on the face of it, a blurring. I don't know if it's much more of that".


The panel's independent member, Tanya Ossack, says her view is that someone whose living seems to be from renting out property in the private rented sector, has a great interest in how it blossoms.

"Any discussions by the council affects his personal livelihood. There have been full declarations in the register of interests, so anyone who wants to know, could find them quite easily.

"But that's not what this is about. It's not about how it looks from the inside out."


Cllr Rayner has asked the panel to read all the evidence carefully before coming to their final conclusions.


Cllr Moore: "It concerns me that even a general declaration wasn't made at these meetings. It feels to me, that applying the test of what the public would think, a declaration of some sort would have been appropriate."

However, Cllr Cornelius has pointed out Cllr Rayner made full written representations about his interests.


Cllr Moore is giving examples of when councillors have declared interests at meetings in the past.


Cllr Cornelius has likened this to being "like a member of an AA contributing to a debate about a motoring matter"...


According to Cllr Bary Rawlings, the test should be whether a 'reasonable person' thinks Cllr Rayner should have declared his interests.


The panel is now debating whether Cllr Rayner should have declared his interests in housing when voting on the Business and Management Committee.




Here is what Cllr Cornelius told the Times Series about the case back in June: "I don’t know, it doesn’t sound illegal. I don’t know the details of it so I can’t make a judgement.

“If it’s something that’s illegal it’s something that shouldn’t be done. It depends on what you mean by illegal?

“Leases should be in line with a statute. If it wasn’t, it would be a civil matter.”

For more, see


Cllr Moore has admitted she is 'uncomfortable' allowing Cllr Cornelius to chair the meeting.


Cllr Moore: "I'd like you to consider how it might look to the public, considering you have commented on it before".


Cllr Cornelius says he would like to continue chairing the meeting. He has previously come out in support of his Tory colleague.

He says he was 'very careful' in what he told the Times Series a few months ago.

However, Cllr Alison Moore, Labour leader, disagrees. She says they were 'dismissive' of the case.


The meeting will be held in public. Cllr Cornelius says there's 'no reason' to hold it in private and Cllr Rayner agrees.


The panel will hear three complaints about one councillor, which we understand to be Cllr Rayner.


The meeting has begun. There was a slight giggle from the public gallery as chairman Richard Cornelius asked if anyone has any disclosable interests.


The press and public could be barred from tonight's meeting - but yesterday, the Times Series wrote the below letter, urging the authority to hold it in public.

We believe excluding the press and public would clearly lead to allegations of a cover up and that the council’s priority should be to ensure members of the public believe justice has been done.

If the meeting is held behind closed doors, we have asked the authority to explain to our readers why it believes the taxpayers deserve to be kept in the dark.

So far, we have not had a reply.

This Is Local London:



Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree