Westminster Council leader urged to make decision on his future

Will he or won’t he? Cllr Colin Barrow is yet to decide whether to stay on as a councillor

Outgoing Westminster Council leader Cllr Colin Barrow is being urged to decide on his future as a councillor.

Cllr Barrow shocked fellow party members a fortnight ago when he announced plans to resign as council leader on March 7.

The council’s press office confirmed Cllr Barrow would also step down from his role as a Hyde Park councillor and all the major political parties stated that they were set to field candidates in a Hyde Park by-election.

But the outgoing leader this week was reported as saying that the council’s press office had “made it up” and they were wrong about his plans to resign from Hyde Park.

Instead he has confirmed he is “yet to decide on his future as a Westminster councillor”.

The confusion has led to calls for Cllr Barrow to inform Hyde Park residents whether he plans to stay as their representative or step down.

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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?’ situation 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.

“What we need to do is get some firm decisions and firm local government.

“It’s unsatisfactory and unnecessary and we as a ward don’t deserve to be treated like this.”

Labour leader Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg said: “This is an extraordinary state of affairs and Cllr Barrow is treating residents of Hyde Park ward with contempt.

“He should go now. It’s time for a new face.

“Questions also need to be asked about the council’s press office.”

A council spokesman denied Cllr Barrow’s claims that the press office had “made up” his plans to stand down as a councillor.

“That rumour did not come from the press office at Westminster,” he said.

“The only fact the press office has ever confirmed is that Cllr Barrow is intending to stand down as leader.

“He is still yet to decide on his future as a ward councillor.”