Chair, it is usual for the vice chair of a committee to thank the chair at the end of the municipal year. As this is my last meeting as a Barnet councillor, perhaps you will permit me a few final valedictory words too?
It has been an honour to serve as their community champion for the residents of Mill Hill for 8 years. In that time I have tried my best to take up their issues and concerns, and deliver real positive changes, such as the diving club, the future of the library and with the many planning applications we have received. I fear though that my zealous advocacy for the residents of Mill Hill may have cost me the selection. As Cllr Dan Thomas (Deputy Leader of the Barnet Conservatives) lays the ground for his right wing and hard Brexit based leadership coup, he only wants yes men in the Conservative group, and thus I have been discarded. Astonishing that after 8 years of serving the community, without a blemish on my record and more than a decade serving the party amounted to zero.
I have had residents contacting me expressing shock and disgust – a Conservative councillor telling me among other things that when joined the Conservative party it was not this party – a nasty party. Isn’t it telling that of the 31 other councillors only a handful had the decency to contact me expressing also shock and disgust. Today have the party group chairman sitting alongside here but not even a squeak - silence is deafening. We have been hearing for some time that deselection was discussed last summer and that the exercise should be prolonged to the 11th hour – damage limitation was on mind. Momentum has arrived in the Conservative party. however, my time at the council has been overshadowed by the disastrous Capita contracts, which is falling apart at the seams. 4 years on issues still keep crawling out the woodwork. This contract represents poor value for money, and the residents are being fleeced. I believe my deselection by Daniel Thomas is motivated by my scepticism of the Capita contracts. Today’s public questions and current media reports vividly illustrates the complete incompetence of capita. The contracts are a shambles and a disaster and performing badly and council taxpayers are being fleeced by Capita .
The new depot – this has been badly mismanaged but Cllr Thomas should be more worried about his own dire performance. The disaster we have seen with bin collections these last two weeks are because of his disastrous management of the move from the Mill Hill depot to the Abbots depot and having to pay over the odds, He is the chair of ARG (assets, regeneration & Growth) committee, and it is now apparent that there is not enough room for the repair of vehicles, and I understand there are serious problems with the structures. one cannot put such important projects in the hands of such a useless person. who is going to pick up the tab, not Capita but Barnet taxpayers?
Another example - take the millions paid to Capita and which are lost and irrecoverable due to their incompetence on the design of the site in north london – not been made public, why? next estates. The list is long but time is against me. I want to thank all the officers connected with this committee and those of the other committees, governance officers with whom I have the pleasure to work with and for the support they extended me in carrying out my councillor duties – very much appreciated.
But returning to my thanks to the chair - although I am finding it difficult I will say only this on behalf of the committee members to thank the chairman for the neutral and inclusive manner he has conducted the meetings during the last 12 months. This is your last meeting too, as you have stood down from hale. All I can say is that the people of Hale will get a significant upgrade in the quality of their representation if they vote for the labour candidates - Ernest, Rachel and Liron. They deserve better. I hope the residents deliver the right result on 3rd May – Conservatives losing control. Thank you"
Roger Tichborne, Lib Dem candidate for Mill Hill commented "Councillor Khatri is one of the most respected politicians in the Borough. This was recognised by the administration in his appointment as the vice chair of the audit committee. It is disgraceful that he appears to have been deselected because he was asking too many difficult questions. If Councillor Khatri says that residents are being fleeced, then he is someone who knows. He has said that he hopes residents deliver the right result on May 3rd. In Mill Hill, this means voting Lib Dems. Only the Lib Dems will curb the excesses of both the hard right and the loony left in Barnet. Our candidates have solid experience of running businesses and a long record of working for the community, rather than for vested interests. Last nights events in the council chamber show just how desperately the council needs people with common sense and common decency. The Lib Dems were the majority party in Mill Hill from 1994 to 2010. Mill Hill residents voted for Sury because they recognised he was a sensible and decent Conservative in 2010. Sadly for Sury and for Mill Hill, it is clear that these values have been abandoned by the Conservative Party. We hope that all Mill Hill residents recognise that it is time to return to these values with a vote for the Liberal Democrats".