Barnet Conservatives lose majority control of council after Cllr Sury Khatri resignation

PUBLISHED: 19:43 15 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:25 20 March 2018

Cllr Sury Khatri has resigned weeks before local elections. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images

Cllr Sury Khatri has resigned weeks before local elections. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images

PA Archive/PA Images

The Conservative Party has lost overall control of Barnet Council following the resignation of a councillor.

Cllr Suri Khatri. Picture: BARNET COUNCIL Cllr Suri Khatri. Picture: BARNET COUNCIL

Tory Cllr Sury Khatri resigned his membership and role as party whip this afternoon, just weeks before local elections.

Speaking to the Ham&High, Cllr Khatri attacked Hendon Conservatives for “booting” him out and ending his hopes of running again after a vote went against his reselection on Sunday.

“I’ve done eight years as a councillor. There have been no complaints from the community. The process has been a despicable charade,” Cllr Khatri said.

Cllr Daniel Thomas – chairman of the Hendon association and Barnet deputy leader – made a statement on Thursday after long-serving Cllrs Joan Scannell, Maureen Braun and Mr Khatri were deselected.

In it he said: “As per Conservative Party rules, all councillors must be reselected by their constituency association to stand for re-election.

“As this process is conducted by secret ballot, it is neither possible nor appropriate to speculate why applicants are not successful.”

Cllr Khatri described the remarks as “absolute bullshit” before he said: “My resignation is a consequence of what they did to me. If they had no loyalty to me, why should I show loyalty to them?

“The residents have lost a friend and powerful voice,” he added.

Cllr Thomas said he had no more to add than what was in his statement.

On the Tories local election chances, Cllr Khatri warned there was “a good possibility” they would lose.

“With the three of us going, I can’t see that helping the party,” the retired civil servant said.

His resignation means the council is now made up of one independent, one Lib Dem and 30 Labour together outnumbering the Conservatives’ 31 councillors, meaning the Tories have technically lost majority control of the council.

A Barnet spokesman confirmed: “The Conservative group remain the majority group although they no longer have the overall majority of members.”

Labour London assembly member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore said: “The hubris, arrogance and nastiness that has come to characterise the Conservative administration in Barnet has come full circle. The rightwing coup has already started, and the next target for Daniel Thomas and his miserable men will be Richard Cornelius.

“Cllr Khatri has been very brave and done the right thing. He is a dedicated public servant and he deserves to end his term on his own terms. I hope Cllrs Braun and Scannell will also consider leaving this toxic Conservative group,” he added.

But Cllr Thomas hit back describing Mr Dismore’s attack as “absolute nonsense” and “a desperate attempt” to divert attention away from the Labour Party’s lack of a manifesto.

“In terms of a takeover, he should be more careful Barnet Momentum doesn’t take over Labour as they have done in Haringey,” he added.

Cllr Khatri will remain in post until May 3.

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