Colin Barrow finally resigns as Westminster councillor

The former leader confirms he is to leave his Hyde Park ward after months of uncertainty

Former Westminster Council leader Colin Barrow has resigned as a councillor after months of uncertainty.

The Hyde Park councillor announced his decision to step down as leader in January but confusion reigned over whether he would continue to represent his ward.

The council press office initially confirmed Cllr Barrow would step down as a ward councillor in January and all the major political parties confirmed they were set to field candidates in a Hyde Park by-election.

But the former leader was then reported as saying that the council’s press office had “made it up” and they were wrong about his plans to resign.

However, two months down the line it has now been confirmed that Cllr Barrow is to leave his role at Westminster.

An email sent round to Westminster councillors this afternoon (Friday) stated: “Cllr Colin Barrow has today given notice of his resignation as a member of the council for Hyde Park ward.”

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Speaking amid the uncertainty over Cllr Barrow’s future in January, Hyde Park Safer Neighbourhood Panel chairman Jack Gordon said: “Hyde Park residents don’t know what is going on.

“You have got a ‘will he or won’t he’ set of circumstances which in turn is responsible for a form of paralysis and that’s not helping anybody.

“This is one of the most important years that Westminster will have with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. It’s not a time to sit on the fence.”

And it seems such uncertainty was evident even today (Friday) when one Westminster Conservative who had not yet seen Cllr Barrow’s resignation email said: “I haven’t heard anything about him stepping down.

“I would be very surprised if he did so before the London Mayor elections.”

Cllr Barrow, who was officially replaced by Cllr Philippa Roe as council leader earlier this month, has represented Hyde Park ward since 2002.

The Conservatives have enjoyed a stronghold over the ward during that time with three Tory councillors representing the ward.

While the Conservatives received 68 per cent of the Hyde Park vote in the 2006 election their margin of victory was slightly decreased in the area in 2010 when they received just less than 64 per cent.

Westminster Council chief executive Mike More confirmed the resignation would be effective from March 23 and “processes for a by-election in the ward will now be put in place”.