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Labor take control of Barnet council UK News

Labor won a historic victory in Barnet, taking overall control of the council for the first time since the borough was established in 1964.

Group leader Barry Rawlings pledged to work with residents to “bring big change to the borough” as he celebrated winning a majority of 19 council seats.

It came on a deadly night for the Tories in London, with Wandsworth and Westminster also falling to Labor as voters delivered their verdict on national and local issues.

In Barnet, the Labor group won 41 seats against 22 for the Conservatives. Labor’s main gains included High Barnet and Childs Hill, where Conservative Cllr Group chairman Peter Zinkin lost his seat. West Hendon, who turned blue four years ago, has returned to Labour.

Cllr Rawlings described the result as ‘a big win’ and thanked residents ‘for putting their faith in’ the Labor group. He added: “I know we had the right message with the right team at the right time, and Barnet deserves the changes we will make.”

Labor governed Barnet in coalition with the Liberal Democrats between 1994 and 2002, but had never won the borough. They were two seats behind the Conservatives in 2014 before suffering a setback in 2018 amid controversy over the Labor leadership’s handling of anti-Semitism within the party.

Cllr Rawlings promised ‘a new relationship with the people of Barnet’. “It’s about having people as partners, not as ATMs,” he explained. “By working with local people, we will have a safer, brighter and cleaner Barnet. It’s about empowering people, but also working with them.

One of the Labor Group’s first priorities will be to repay £2million raised through a 1% increase in the Adult Welfare Precept. Cllr Rawlings also pledged to declare a climate emergency and conduct neighborhood safety audits with residents.

The Tories suffered their worst defeat at Barnet. Chief Dan Thomas said: “We lost some great advisers this morning, and I’m really disappointed for them personally.

“They lost through no fault of their own. I think they are victims of a set of national circumstances – the cost of living crisis and “participation”.

Cllr Thomas also claimed ward boundary changes in Barnet ‘favour Labor more than us’.

Speaking ahead of the election, Cllr Thomas came out in favor of Boris Johnson. Following this morning’s result, he said it was up to his Westminster colleagues to decide Johnson’s direction, adding: ‘It has been a bad night for the Tories in London but now those colleagues will look into the situation national and consider the message sent to the government, and I hope the government listens.

It was also a disappointing night for the Lib Dems, who won no seats despite hopes of a Barnet resurgence.

Chief Cllr Gabriel Rozenberg said: “It has been work night at Barnet. I think we congratulate them all and wish them good luck in their first full board control.

“I’m proud of the campaign we ran. It was a positive campaign in the neighborhoods we targeted, and we offered voters a new alternative. But the decision of the voters is final, we respect it and look forward to playing our part in the future of the borough.

The Green Party, Women’s Equality Party, Join EU Party and four independent candidates also contested the elections but failed to win seats.

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This notice was published: 2022-05-06 07:36:06

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