Cllr Barry Rawlings was elected Leader of the Labour Group at last night’s Labour Group meeting following Cllr Alison Moore’s decision to stand down after being selected as a London Assembly list candidate.
Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings said: "It is a real privilege to be elected to serve as Leader of the Barnet Labour Group – I am grateful to my colleagues for their confidence and support – and I look forward to working with them to build on our strong position as a group of 30 councillors – only one seat short of defeating the Conservatives.
“We are Labour councillors first and foremost to make a real difference to the lives of Barnet’s residents based on our values of fairness and social justice, and we will continue to take the fight to the Tories by working with and for the local community, and by being their voice in the Town Hall.
“The Conservative government’s programme of austerity, willingly supported by the Tories on Barnet Council, is reducing our ability to tackle poverty and disadvantage, and to ensure that we do achieve that fairness and social justice. I believe we need to build an alternative to the marketisation of public services which involves an enhanced idea of civic society –working closer with the community sector to instill a public service ethos, we need far more integrated local services with neighbouring authorities, health and the police, and we need to implement practical solutions to tackle the escalating problem of the lack of affordable housing – an issue that now affects middle as well as lower income families.
“I would like to thank Ross for the honourable way he conducted his campaign in this Leadership election, and for his on-going work on developing our very strong housing policy platform. We will continue to work together as friends and colleagues for the benefit of the people of Barnet.
“I would also like to pay tribute to Alison who, in her 10 years as Leader of the Labour Group, has led the Group from strength to strength – building our number from 20 to almost seizing control of the Council. Her commitment and dedication to public service, to the people of Barnet and to the Labour Party has been phenomenal.”
Cllr Ross Houston, who also stood in the Leadership election, said: “I congratulate Barry on his successful election – he was a very comradely opponent, and we both share the same passions for social justice. The Labour Group is united behind him, and getting him elected Leader of the Council in 2018.”
Outgoing Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Alison Moore said: “We had two very able candidates in this leadership contest – which is a testament to the strength and talent within our Labour Group. They both fought a good-natured campaign on the issues that matter to the residents of Barnet: the cuts to our public services, including our valued libraries; the on-going challenge of providing care for our older residents; the chronic lack of affordable housing and the ideologically driven privatisation of council services by the Tory administration.
“I wholeheartedly congratulate Barry on being elected Leader. I know he will take the fight to the Tories and be a strong and passionate advocate for all residents and communities across Barnet. I wish him every success in taking the Barnet Labour Group forward to victory in the Local Elections in 2018.”