Monday, 4 April 2011

Barnet Council : Metpro Rapid Response, Jeff Lustig and the war on truth

I am going to post two things here. Firstly, I'm going to post an email from Barnet Councils head of Legal, Jeff Lustig. I've highlighted a key passage in Red. I'm also re-posting some video evidence taken at the recent Council meeting where residents were denied access to the meeting.

You can decide for yourself whether Mr Lustig's statement is an accurate representation of what happened. Personally, I am rather disgusted.

Jeff Lustig Email
From: Lustig, Jeff <>
Date: 4 April 2011 11:29
Subject: Response to e-mail regarding the Council Meeting on 1 March 2011
To: adamlangleben
Cc: Leader <>, "Moore, Cllr Alison Labour" <>, "Walkley, Nick" <> 

Dear Mr. Langleben,

The Chief Executive has asked me to respond to your e-mail. 

The Council will shortly be responding to your recent Freedom of Information requests but I note that the statutory period for response has not yet expired. Likewise, the Council will also shortly be responding to all of the further issues you have raised in your latest e-mail.

I do want to clarify that the security arrangements at the Town Hall on the night of the Council budget meeting were arrived at through careful preparation and liaison between Council Officers and the Police. I was personally involved with and represented the Council in some of the preparatory discussions. The Police and the Council in turn had responsibility for different elements of the security arrangements. The security company’s staff provided some support for the arrangements. A number of Council Officers were involved in implementing the arrangements for which the Council had responsibility. Contrary to your assumption, the Mayor and the Leader of the Council were very directly involved in the Council budget meeting itself and were not, therefore, involved in overseeing the security arrangements. Likewise, the Chief Executive was present in the meeting for the most part and was not giving specific orders to the security company’s staff as has been claimed.
It is worth reiterating that, unlike some other London boroughs, the business of the meeting was completed without interruption, all members of the public who wanted to listen to the debate were accommodated, either in the public gallery or the overflow room with audio link, and there were no incidents of disorder or violence.
As indicated, we will be in further contact with you as soon as possible.
Yours sincerely,

Jeff Lustig
Director of Corporate Governance
London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP
2. Youtube footage of residents being denied access to the meeting by Metpro & the Police on the instruction of Barnet Council nosses

One point I will make. Do the people discussing access with the police and the guy from Metpro sound or look as if they are "violent"? Do they look aggressive? Mr Lustig claims the meeting passed without violence, the implication was that keeping these people out was the reason. As one is a Barnet Council employeee and another is an ex councillor, I think this is highly insulting.

Mr Lustig also rather cleverly claims the following :-
Likewise, the Chief Executive was present in the meeting for the most part and was not giving specific orders to the security company’s staff as has been claimed.
If you read carefully, he uses the word "specific". This is a legal get out. If he told whoever was running security "I don't think you should let any more people in" this is not a specific order, but it's effect would be pretty clear. It is high time that Barnet Council, it's leader, it's CEO and it's legal department started telling the truth. It seems that the only way this will come out is with an Independent Public Enquiry. Mr Lustig's response makes it crystal clear that this is the only way that this awful mess can be cleared up and trust restored.

Oh and one other fact of interest, here's a few visitors to my blog today :-

British Broadcasting Corporation (
Houses Of Parliament (
Associated Newspapers Ltd (

(and yes, I've had a couple of telephone calls as have my fellow bloggers who carried the Press release)

Sadly because I'm on a free stats package, I can only see the detail on the last 500 hits, so I missed the really busy time when the press release was posted before lunch. It is clear that there is massive media interest in this story. I guess there will be even more when these media outlets see what Barnet are saying and what actually happened.


Jaybird said...

I was at the meeting, in the overflow room. I was one of the people invited to take a seat in the chamber by the inspector in charge of the police.

I was stopped at the door to the chamber by MetPro security guards. Nick Walkley came out of the Chamber and specifically told us to sit in the overflow room and told MetPro not to let us into the chamber.

Mr Reasonable said...

Rog, I was next to Jaybird, I was prevented from entering by Nick Walkley and my recollection was that he did indeed instruct MetPro not to let us in. Perhaps MetPro's secret filming should be released as it might show this to be the case.

The whole business stinks.

baarnett said...

Many people remember Mr Lustig's "control" of a Residents Forum in Avenue House, about the time of "Allowancegate" last summer.

He is perhaps not the most approprate person to document the running of a council meeting.

Mrs Angry said...

Just to add, and goodness me, there is so that could be said,that there have indeed been some very interesting visitors to the blogs today. Oh LBBarnet, what have you done?

Why not do the decent thing now, before it's too late, and agree to an immediate, full and completely transparent public inquiry?

baarnett said...

Mrs A:
Ooo, and there was me thinking you were going to say...

"Why not do the decent thing now, before it's too late, and agree to..."

"collectively resign all leadership positions, give your power to the rest of your party, and allow councillors in other parties to at least be treated with respect, even if they have no executive power (until after 2014, anyway).

But you didn't!

sam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rog T said...

I've deleted two comments by Sam, because I need to check the allegations out. If they are correct, they warrant a blog. If they are not they should not be published. Watch this space

sam said...

Thank you.Please confirm with the Met police .There is going to be alot of very red faces going about when the true comes out over why some one with so many conviction and no regards to the SIA 2001 SECURITY ACT......cant wait to see what the police will now do