Barnet Conservatives have voted to reinvigorate resident forums with a crackdown on “the village
bore” — as Barnet Labour performed a U-turn on the measure.
The Council voted 38-25 on Tuesday [22nd May] to structure residents’ speaking time into three-
minute slots, ending a situation whereby a tiny minority could take over meetings with drawn-out
monologues, putting off their neighbours from attending.
Although Barnet Labour leader Cllr Barry Rawlings voted for the change at a meeting of the
Constitution, Ethics & Scrutiny Committee on 19th October 2017, Cllr Rawlings decided on Tuesday he had voted for an “affront to democracy”.
In response, committee chairman Cllr John Marshall told the chamber: “I am amazed by the
chutzpah of the leader of the Labour Party because he knows full well that, when this was discussed
in the committee, it was agreed unanimously. The leader of the Labour Party agreed to it, the
deputy leader of the Labour Party agreed to it.
“I know the local Labour Party has no faith in the national leader of the Labour Party. I didn’t realise
they no longer had any faith in the leader of the Labour Party locally. I suppose defeat does sour
“What we don’t want is the village bore coming along to an area forum and speaking for four, five,
six, or seven minutes. There are certain people who frequented the forums and they have driven out
other people by their comments. I think this is very reasonable and will reinvigorate the forums. I’m
surprised by the U-turn of the leader of the Labour Party locally.”
Area residents’ forums allow people to raise local issues with councillors in a public meeting. There
are forums for each of the three parliamentary constituencies in Barnet: Chipping Barnet, Finchley &
Golders Green, and Hendon.
The next residents’ forums will take place on Wednesday 18th July at 7pm at venues to be
announced. Issues to be raised must be received by the Council by 10am on the seventh working day
before the meeting (i.e. do not count weekends).
For Chipping Barnet, contact Naomi Kwasa on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020
8359 4144; for Finchley & Golders Green, contact Tracy Scollin on email@example.com or
8359 2315; for Hendon, contact Abigail Lewis on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020