The ‘Barnet Spring’ prompts Brian Coleman’s political fall from grace

17:00 21 May 2012

Cllr Brian Coleman

Cllr Brian Coleman

Archant

Campaigners have hailed the dawn of the “Barnet Spring” after controversial parking boss Brian Coleman was ousted from his cabinet role a week after losing his seat on the London Assembly.

Former environment chief Cllr Coleman was one of the highest profile scalps claimed in the City Hall elections on May 3.

His defeat was largely blamed on the controversial parking reforms he steered through on Barnet Council, which saw parking fees rise and all pay and display metres scrapped and replaced by a new pay-by-phone system.

In a move that suggests Barnet may be considering a change in parking policy, the post was handed to Golders Green Cllr Dean Cohen - a critic of the reforms - on Tuesday (May 15).

Theresa Musgrove, who blogs as Mrs Angry, said Cllr Coleman’s “arrogance” and unpopular policies had spurred an eclectic mix of residents to campaign for his demise.

She and other Barnet bloggers have held Cllr Coleman to account on Twitter and other social media sites, which it is believed helped mobilise the vote against him on May 3 when he lost the Barnet & Camden London Assembly seat after 12 years.

The movement has been dubbed the Barnet Spring - a play on the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East which saw a groundswell of revolution driven by social media.

Ms Musgrove said: “It has been the Barnet Spring. It’s not just Brian Coleman, the whole Conservative council has created the Big Society they all claim they want to see.

“By default they have united sections of the community in a resistance to the local council in a way they hadn’t anticipated.

“It has created network of activists and bloggers spanning all party stripes. They are concerned about the way Barnet is going.”

In a gesture epitomising this eclectic opposition, trade unionists, bloggers, teachers and small shopkeepers all shared a toast at Alexandra Palace bar after Cllr Coleman lost his London Assembly seat on May 3.

Signalling a change on the controversial council parking reforms, Cllr Cohen, said: “Parking is the main issue and it is one that needs to be dealt with.

“We are here to respond to residents in the borough and if that is an issue amongst residents then we have to address that problem.”

But he warned policy changes would have to be kept within a tight budget and that nothing had yet been decided.

Cllr Coleman, who also lost his role as chairman of the London Fire Authority when he failed to hold his London Assembly seat, is the second political heavyweight to be forced from his post after a row over parking charges.

Westminster Council leader Colin Barrow resigned in January after a high profile campaign against West End parking charges.

Many traditional Tory voters supported Labour’s new Barnet & Camden London Assembly member Andrew Dismore, who polled higher than Cllr Coleman in Golders Green - where all three ward councillors are Conservative.

The stripping of his posts means Cllr Coleman’s pay packet has been slashed from £120,000 a year to a £14,000 expenses budget.

Cllr Coleman declined to comment.

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

Friday, June 24, 2016
The protest is marching on the Shard (Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Images)

Pro-EU protesters are planning to march to the headquarters of Rupert Murdoch’s News UK. where pro-Brexit tabloid The Sun is based, this evening.

Friday, June 24, 2016
As June 24 is widely hailed as Independence Day, should London go it alone?  (Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

As most of the UK voted for Brexit, two significant areas voted overwhelming to remain in the Union: Scotland, and London.

Friday, June 24, 2016
Londoners are despairing at news Britain has voted to leave the EU (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

London is in a state of ‘shock’ and ‘sadness’ after Britain voted in favour of leaving the EU and David Cameron resigned. The capital found itself largely irrelevant after Vote Leave celebrated much larger wins than expected. Across 33 boroughs, 59.9% (2.26 million) voted to remain in the EU - in some areas, the remain vote was more than 70 per cent. This is what Londoners had to say...

Friday, June 24, 2016
UKIP Leader Nigel Farage speaking in London where he claimed victory for the Leave campaign (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

Britain is set to leave the EU after the Leave campaign was declared winners of this historic referendum.

Thursday, June 23, 2016
A wry sign was stuck in the window of the Methodist Central Hall polling station in Westminster as Londoners headed to the polls this morning (Picture: PA Wire)

It is EU Referendum day and the rain is pouring, but Londoners are still flocking to polling stations to ensure their voices are heard. Follow us here throughout the day for updates on exit polls and some great pictures of #dogsatpollingstations in the capital.

Thursday, June 23, 2016
Double trouble (Photo: @ScrappyN)

As Britain goes to the polls to vote in the EU Referendum, so do Britain’s dogs.

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Copyright: Erich Spiegelhalter/Schwarzwald

Embark on a three day round trip (including flights) during which you will taste local specialities such as the famous Black Forest Gateau, discover nature, absorb vibrant city culture, learn about technological innovations, indulge yourself in the plentiful wellness spas, take some shots on the golf course, and enjoy family fun at Germany’s largest theme park.

Read more
£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport