Mill Hill Conservative Councillor Sury Khatri has set a fine example of how a decent, honest councillor should behave. Mr Khatri is a sceptic in regards to the One Barnet program. At a recent meeting with Mill Hill residents, he conceded that the case hadn't been made. It appears that he stood his corner in an internal Conservative group meeting, telling them that they had no democratic mandate for One Barnet as it hadn't been mentioned in the manifesto. Local Tory MP, Matthew Offord attempted to shout down Mr Khatri, but Mr Khatri stood his ground. Mr Khatri is one of the most intelligent and decent of the Barnet Conservative councillors. I stood against him in the 2010 Council elections. When the result was announced, I shook his hand and said "As you are now my councillor, I hope you repay the trust that the people of Mill Hill have placed in you". It appears that Mr Khatri is showing he is well worthy of that trust. Here is the article from the Press newspaper which details Mr Khatris comments.
I hope Mr Khatris honest and sensible stand is recognised by his colleagues. It is clear that, unlike many of his colleagues, he has bothered to listen to both sides of the argument and recognised the flaws in the plan and the total lack of democratic accountability in the process.
It is only fair to also say that Mr Khatri is not a "natural rebel" or a troublemaker. He has found the situation he has found himself in almost impossible. He recognises the fact that many of his colleagues have not done their homework and are not listening to the people they are supposed to represent. When I spoke to him after the Mill Hill meeting, it was clear to me that he was extremely troubled. He promised the people at the meeting that he would take our concerns back to the Leadership and discuss it. His colleague Councillor John Hart also told me that the way to deal with these issues was to discuss them in a calm and rational way and look at the evidence.
One must conclude that Mr Khatri has done this and drawn the conclusion that the project should be abandoned. For this we must recognise his decency and honesty. I am also pleased to see that Matthew Offord MP has come off the fence and stated his support for One Barnet. Mr Offord knows all about how well Barnet Council manages contractors, he managed to overspend by £11 million on a £12 million project at Aerodrome Road - http://barneteye.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/undynamic-duos-aerodrome-road-bridge.html - I hardly think he's the man to lecture anyone about managing contractors.