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Hillan challenged in Barnet - blog exclusive

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November 24, 2016 22:56

Newly-elected Barnet councillor Mark Shooter has taken the brave step of challenging council leader Lynne Hillan for the Conservative group leadership.

He has written to other Tory councillors appealing for support in an attempt to have her removed from the role.

The move follows last month's scandal when councillors passed a deal that sees Ms Hillan able to claim up to £54,000 per year for the role, a jump of nearly £20,000. Her cabinet colleagues agreed that their own allowances should double to £34,000.

Cllr Shooter, who is Jewish and represents the council's Hendon ward, intends to stand against Ms Hillan at the party’s AGM on September 7.

In the letter he wrote: “I believe the current administration’s flawed decision to increase allowances showed them to be totally out of touch with public opinion…[it] can no longer be trusted to make important judgments.”

Although he was one of the councillors to vote for the new allowance scheme, he now says his challenge is due to Ms Hillan’s actions since that meeting.

He said those actions included the “appalling way Cllr Kate Salinger was treated” – she was stripped of every committee position she held for objecting to the rises – and efforts to limit discussions on the issue at public residents’ forums.

Of course Cllr Shooter’s move may well end his political career, at least under the current Hillan-led regime.

His chances of securing sufficient backing from influential party members and councillors (many of whom voted for the pay rises and will now happily collect the substantial increase in funds, don’t forget) are slim.

And no doubt if his bid does end unsuccessfully, Ms Hillan will not take kindly to his outburst.

But that doesn’t matter. The people of Barnet will remember that Cllr Shooter has stood up and done the right thing. Unlike his ‘leader’, he will be able to look voters in the eye when he goes canvassing for votes, and, more importantly, when he walks along the streets of his ward representing his neighbours and fellow council tax-payers.

Should both Mark Shooter and Lynne Hillan stand for election in the borough’s next elections, I have no doubt which of them will receive the highest level of support from the public.

November 24, 2016 22:56

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