To resign or not to resign, that is the question for council leader Colin Barrow.

Colin Barrow

Colin Barrow

There’s an old joke we couldn’t resist using when we learnt the latest news about resigning Westminster City Council leader Colin Barrow. He used to be indecisive but now he’s not so sure.

Last Saturday (14th Jan 2012) the BBC’s Political Editor Tim Donovan published his story that:

Colin Barrow will resign as leader of Westminster Council and stand down as a councillor.” (view source)

As the days passed more journalists contacted the rather extravagantly funded Westminster Council press office to also have it confirmed that Colin Barrow was indeed resigning from both the leadership of the council and his role of councillor.

The significance of Barrow resigning as a councillor is because it would cause a by-election in Barrows ward, Hyde Park. The council’s standing orders state that the election must be called within 35 days of a councillor declaring his/her intention to leave.

Several journalists were led to believe by the council’s PR department that Cllr Barrow would be departing in March, staying just long enough to see this year’s council budget through.

Barrow himself was saying his resignation was something he had planned for a long time, as at 60 he wanted to use his time to concentrate on writing and lecturing. In all the TV and radio sound bites since last Friday Barrow never once said he was stepping down as a councillor, but perhaps tellingly he never once denied the official story being spread by his councils own PR department either.

With a number of journalists confirming to Nutsville that Westminster Council’s press office was telling them all, even after last weekend, there would be a by-election as a result of Barrow’s resignation, it creates a big question of who is running Westminster City Council.

By last Thursday the published press release on the councils’ website was quietly altered with the addition of this sentence tagged on at the end:

Cllr Colin Barrow is stepping down as Leader but is yet to decide on his future as a Westminster councillor.

A cached version of the original council press release can be viewed here whilst today’s press release is here.

We have spoken to a handful of Westminster Conservative councillors’ who have all said that Colin Barrow is giving the ‘impression’ that he is staying on as a councillor but all wanted Barrow to clear up what is happening. Some Tory councillors did say it was still a grey area which needs a clear statement from Colin as to whether he has resigned as leader and as a councillor.

With Barrow claiming his resignation decision was something he intended to do for months; it is odd for him not to be clear about his intentions at this late stage.

Could it be that once again council officers have attempted to lead councillors by the noses so to speak and jumped the gun by dictating policy or did Downing Street intervene? After all, the election for London Mayor falls on the 3rd May. So if there is a local by-election just before this date, it may help Ken Livingstone’s mayoral campaign. Most polls show Johnson and Livingstone just a few points apart, and the thought of Livingstone becoming London mayor is so abhorrent to Conservative’s it is bound to lead to speculation as to who is pulling Barrow’s strings because of the uncertainty over his resignation.

Colin Barrow might just be hoping to stay as a Westminster councillor for as long as possible? History does show Barrow as having the desire to ‘hang on’ to council jobs, as shown when he first went for the Hyde Park ward councillor’s job in 2002. At the time he was a lot clearer about his intentions than he appears to be now. He refused to step down from Suffolk County council, claiming he could be a councillor for both Westminster Council and Suffolk saying “I qualify to stand as a councillor in both Westminster and Suffolk and there are many examples of people who work on more than one council”.

Perhaps Colin Barrow might take the opportunity of tomorrows’ public council meeting to explain why his press office were saying one thing and he was not publicly disputing their statements.

 

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2 Comments

Mark SaundersJanuary 25th, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Well, the best result might be that he hangs onto the job for the ego factor but never shows up, and blocks the seat for the devil that we don’t know.

truth sayerFebruary 6th, 2012 at 11:50 am

What happened to your big forcast of arrests. ……… Get your facts wrong again ??? news of the world eat your heart out

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