Earlier this evening (saturday), I happened to bump into a rather upset and rather "tired and emotional" Barnet Conservative party activist. "Pray what could be troubling you my friend" I enquired. "Brian Coleman has been at it again".
To cut a long story short. A Mill Hill Conservative Councillor - unnamed - sent an email to Brian Coleman with a list of grumbles about the way that the Barnet Conservatives are being run by Lynne Hillan. It appears that this was a private email with some constructive suggestions as to the way forward (allegedly).
Anyway, from what I've been told, Brian Coleman reacted with his usual charm and pleasantry. He emailed the whole group and basically told the said councillor that he'd been sacked as a Tory.
It appears that Hugh Rayner immediately sent the unnamed Mill Hill Councillor an email saying "Don't respond to Brian, come and have a chat with me first". From what I can glean, Hugh Rayner has realised that with a vote of confidence in Lynne Hillan coming up on Tuesday, Brian Coleman has rather jumped the gun in sacking said councillor. My source had spoken to said councillor about what to do, as they were rather upset by the whole issue.
Sadly I don't know the identity of the said Councillor as my friend suddenly realised he'd made rather a boo boo in telling me all of this. I guess this can be ascertained when I serve an FOI request on Brian Colemans council correspondence. I am taking a wild guess here, but the odds are as follows
John Hart - 4/11
Brian Schama - 2/1
Sury Khatri - 14/1
There is a free pot noodle for any Conservative Councillor who sends me a copy of Brian Colemans email before the vote on Tuesday (so long as they declare it, he he he). I will of course immediately post it here. Oh and if I've got the odds wrong, I apologise profusely to all concerned.
Anyway, I must confess I'd given up on the leadership issue as a dead duck, assuming that all of the Barnet Tories would toe the line. It appears that I couldn't have been more wrong.