I will treat this like a business, says Barnet’s new leader

13:00 26 June 2011

Richard Cornelius new leader of Barnet Council

Richard Cornelius new leader of Barnet Council

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

»The new leader of Barnet Council has vowed to use his business acumen to drive “even better value” out of the Town Hall and make it more responsive to the needs of residents.

Richard Cornelius, 55, is the Conservative councillor for Totteridge ward and was elected leader last Wednesday. He pipped acting leader Andrew Harper and councillor Mark Shooter to the post.

Cllr Cornelius is the third generation to work for his family business and has promised to use his experience of managing it to lead an efficient Town Hall.

“I’m a small businessman who’s got this job and I aim to treat it like a business,” he said.

The key to this, he explained, was to understand the council’s accounts.

“The money is the key to any organisation. You follow the money through and watch where it leaks away and then stop that.”

Councillor Cornelius has lived in Totteridge all his life, apart from two years when he and his wife Alison bought a flat in Hampstead while in their twenties – for just £15,000.

She is also a Tory councillor for Totteridge along with their pugnacious ward colleague, Brian Coleman.

Councillor Cornelius attended Highgate School and left when he was 18 to work in the family business.

As a 16-year-old school boy he heard Margaret Thatcher speak while she was the MP for Finchley and, as education secretary, embroiled in the row about stopping free school milk.

Cllr Cornelius said: “I never liked the school milk. It was always stored in the sun and was vile.

“I think she (Margaret Thatcher) was great for British politics. She thought outside the box and she questioned things that had gone on for a very long time.

“She meant what she said. She’s an example to all of us – if she said something, she did it.”

He said that he planned to continue in the direction that the council was going under Lynne Hillan, before she stepped down due to ill health.

“I want to look at everything we are doing and see if there are any tweaks we can make,” councillor Cornelius said.

He said that the decision to change the computer system to allocate housing in the borough had been successful and had made the whole process much fairer.

But the process of procuring contracts could be improved, especially in light of the MetPro case, he said.

The security company was paid £1.4m by Barnet over six years but it did not have a formal contract or the correct licence to operate and was found to have filmed residents at public meetings.

Cllr Cornelius said: “The way the contract was awarded, there isn’t the evidence that it was handled properly and there should have been. The paper trail has broken down along the line. That needs to be looked at very carefully to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Lots of people have been left scratching their heads after arguments made by pro and anti-Europe campaigners (Picture: London24 / Getty)

There has been no shortage of radio, television coverage and column inches devoted to the EU referendum on 23 June.

Monday, May 23, 2016
Mr Cameron and politicians from different political parties are campaigning to remain in the European Union ahead of the referendum on June 23. (Photo by Jack Taylor - Pool/Getty Images)

David Cameron made an early morning trip to a supermarket in Hayes yesterday along with Labour MP Harriet Harman.

Monday, May 16, 2016
Big Ben will stop ticking for months (Picture: Getty)

One of London’s best loved landmarks, Big Ben, is about to fall silent after hundreds of years bringing in the hour at Westminster - and you will be able to watch it not chiming every single second of every day.

Monday, May 16, 2016
Donald Trump and Sadiq Khan don't seem to be friends (Picture: PA Images / London24)

Donald Trump made an ominous-sounding statement as he continued his war of words with London Mayor Sadiq Khan on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today.

Monday, May 16, 2016
Protestors marching on Holloway Prison to demand the prison site is replaced by council housing and community facilities (Picture: Ken Mears)

Jeremy Corbyn joined protesters for a march on Holloway Prison in protest at the government’s housing bill.

Monday, May 16, 2016
Commuters travelling on the District Line during a Tube stirke in 2014 (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Union leaders are calling for urgent talks with new London mayor Sadiq Khan to discuss issues they warn pose the biggest threat to transport services in the capital.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more
Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport