Labour is set to win a key council at the elections after a very surprising endorsement

Jeremy Corbyn
James Aitchison

Barnet Labour council candidates standing in the May elections received an endorsement from the most unlikely source recently.

During a speech to the Barnet council audit committee, then Conservative councillor Sury Khatri tended his resignation on 19 April. And he said he hoped that his party would lose control of the council on 3rd May. He also advised people to vote for Labour.

Jeremy Corbyn’s party looks set to become the biggest party in Barnet at the elections, for the first time in 50 years.

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The right result

In his speech, Khatri lambasted the Conservatives lurch to the far-right, the party’s mishandling of the Brexit negotiations, and Barnet council’s embrace of outsourcing. Most surprisingly, Khatri categorically lent his support to the Labour candidates standing in the election:

All I can say is that for people of Hale [they’ll] have a significant upgrade in the quality of their representation if they vote for the Labour candidates…

“Disastrous Capita contracts”

Khatri resigned the whip after he was deselected in March. He has been critical of both the council and the Conservative party. He has been particularly vehement in his criticism of the Conservative-led council’s approach to privatisation. Khatri had the following to say about the council’s decision to outsource large sections of public services to Capita:

my time at the council has been overshadowed by the disastrous Capita contracts, which is falling apart at the seams. Four years on issues still keep crawling out of the woodwork. This contract represents poor value for money, and the residents are being fleeced.

Barnet council has been dubbed “easyCouncil” by critics based on its record with outsourcing. The council has awarded over £300m in contracts to Capita. It’s also given up 800 council houses to its regeneration schemes.

With friends like these…

As a result of the Conservative party’s mismanagement of outsourcing, child services, and housing, Labour looks set to gain control of Barnet council. The Conservatives have held the council since 1964.

It’s difficult to know what will sway voters come 3rd May. However, support for Labour from an ex-Conservative councillor may be the final nail in the coffin for the notorious easyCouncil.

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Feature image via Rwendland – Wikimedia

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