New Conservative Council gags residents as first action

The first post-election decision taken by Barnet’s Conservative Council at the Council AGM has been to ban residents from speaking for more than 3 minutes at their own residents’ forums. Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore said this showed the contempt with which the Conservatives hold the residents of Barnet.

Mr Dismore said:

‘The totalitarian Tories don’t like residents saying anything or criticising anything. Their latest Stalinist diktat is part of a long process of stifling debate and criticism. They previously banned me from raising issues for residents, they banned residents from raising important policy issues including planning and now they say residents can only speak for three minutes on what is left. No wonder hardly anyone goes to area forums anymore. Three minutes is not enough time to go into the details of a complex case.

‘And what a start from all those new Conservative Councillors whose first act is to vote to gag their own residents. It doesn’t bode well for the next four years as these new Conservative Councillors will merely be voting fodder rather than champions for the community.

‘Residents need to be able to bring complex issues to the forums and to discuss what they want to talk about. There are no other meetings of the council where they have proper speaking rights.’