Petition to block appointment of new Barnet mayor over ‘controversial track record’

Cllr Brian Gordon is set to be the mayor of Barnet for 2020-2021. Picture: LDRS

Cllr Brian Gordon is set to be the mayor of Barnet for 2020-2021. Picture: LDRS - Credit: Archant

A new petition is calling for Barnet Council to stop long-serving councillor Brian Gordon becoming the borough’s next ceremonial mayor.

Tara St Clair, who lives in Golders Green, said Cllr Gordon (Con, Edgware) – who was elected mayor at a meeting in March – is “not representative of the views and values of Barnet residents”.

She has launched a petition calling on the council to block his official appointment, which was postponed due to the cancellation of the annual council meeting.

Ms St Clair has cited an incident where Cllr Gordon “blacked up” to dress up as Nelson Mandela, and said he Cllr Gordon has a “controversial track record on a number of topics, including LGBTQ+ education in schools, the role of women and immigration”.

Her petition states: “(Cllr Gordon) must be withdrawn as his values and behaviour are not fitting of a leadership position.”

In 2007, Cllr Gordon faced calls to resign after blacking up as Nelson Mandela at a party to celebrate the Jewish festival of Purim.

He subsequently apologised for any offence caused and said he had the “utmost respect and admiration” for Mr Mandela.

Most Read

A spokesperson for Mr Mandela later commented: “We don’t see any harm in this whatsoever.

“If it was a fancy-dress party and people were expected to arrive as a character or famous person, we are convinced there was no ill intent behind this.”

Cllr Gordon also denied any accusation of racism when, shortly after that, he was reported as having told a local Conservative meeting in 1977 that he wanted an end to immigration because he felt that Britain should not be the “dustbin” of the world.

In August last year, the Jewish Chronicle reported that Cllr Gordon urged rabbis to consider public demonstrations to stop religious schools being compelled to teach about same-sex relations.

A spokesperson for Barnet Conservatives said: “Cllr Gordon has been a councillor since 1998, and during that time has been an impassioned representative for minorities in his ward and across the borough.”

They added it “was right” for him to be chosen as mayor.

The petition, which has more than 130 signatures, is available here.